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Gunmen in mayor’s ambush identified

Gunmen in mayor’s ambush identified

CEBU ATTACK Police are eyeing four suspects in the Jan. 22 attack on the group of Mayor Lakambini Reluya of San Fernando, Cebu province. Reluya survived but her husband and two others died in the ambush in Talisay City. —JUNJIE MENDOZA

CEBU CITY — The regional police in Central Visayas on Monday said investigators knew the identities of two of four suspects in the Jan. 22 ambush of San Fernando Mayor Lakambini Reluya and her husband, but they would not yet divulge them pending verification with the victims’ family.

“We will divulge it to Mayor Reluya since they are the victims. As of now we already have the identity of our primary suspect,” said Chief Supt. Debold Sinas, Central Visayas police director.

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Talisay raid

Based on witnesses’ accounts, three of the four suspects fired at the van carrying Reluya and her husband, Ricardo Reluya Jr., Panadtaran village chief, Sinas said at a press briefing at Camp Sergio Osmeña here on Monday.

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The fourth suspect drove the getaway vehicle.

Sinas said the police raided a house in Talisay City believed to be the hideout of the gunmen, but failed to arrest any suspect.

However, the operatives recovered rifles believed used in the ambush that killed Reluya Jr., Allan Bayot and Ricky Monterona, the mayor’s driver and aide, respectively.

Political rivals of Reluya were invited for questioning at the Cebu provincial police office on Monday to shed light on their alleged participation in the ambush.

They were identified as Ruben Feliciano, a mayoral candidate challenging Reluya, and Neil Enriquez, a supporter of another bet.

Not suspects

Feliciano said he was willing to submit to an investigation to clear his name.

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“I don’t have anything to do with the ambush of Mayor Reluya,” he said.

“It is not politically motivated. I know for sure it is all about illegal drugs,” he added.

Enriquez declined to give a statement to reporters.

Senior Supt. Manuel Abrugena, Cebu police director, would not reveal the statements of Feliciano and Enriquez, except to say that what the two had told investigators would help them in the probe.

For now, police were not considering Feliciano and Enriquez as suspects or persons of interest, Abrugena said. —Nestle Semilla

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