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Former TV reporter, habal—habal driver shot dead in Cotabato City

COTABATO CITY, Philippines –A former reporter of ABS-CBN Cotabato and a “habal-habal” (motorcycle for hire) driver were shot dead by gunmen riding in tandem on motorcycle along Barangay Rosary Heights 4 here on Wednesday night.

Police Major Ramil Villagracia, Police Station 2 commander, identified the victims as former reporter Archad Ayao, 28, a resident of Teksing, Old Market area, Barangay Poblacion 6, currently employed at the Bangsamoro Regional Human Rights Commission (BRHRC); and habal habal driver Pio Orteza, 42, of Purok Dimasiray, Rosary Heights 4.

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Villagracia said Ayaw was riding the motorcycle driven by Orteza when he was shot in the head as they traversed Don Ramon Rabago Avenue, in front of the Cotabato City Engineering District Office at 6:10 p.m. Wednesday.

The ambush site was only about 50 meters away from Police Station 2  at the corner of Sinsuat and Ramon Rabago Avenues.

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Both victims sustained gunshot wounds in the head, Villagracia said. Responding police rushed the victims to the hospital where they were declared dead on arrival.

Villagracia said investigators found two empty shells of a cal. 45 pistol at the crime scene.

Laisa Alamia, the former executive secretary of the defunct Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM), was shocked to learn of Ayao’s death.

“Unbelievable, another senseless death! To your family, friends and loved ones, may Allah grant you peace to bring comfort, courage to face the days ahead. May justice be served, if not in this world, then in the hereafter,” Alamia posted on Facebook.

Alamia had worked with Ayao in the past.

She described Ayao as “committed human rights and social worker, an emergency responder, a trainor, facilitator. Young, witty, so full of life. Kind, efficient, hardworking. His life has been snuffed out earlier tonight,” she said.

“Farewell, Chad. Farewell,” she said. /muf

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