By LYKA MANALO
TANAUAN CITY, Batangas – Mayor Antonio Halili was killed from a distance of 76.8 meters by an ordinary marksman knowledgeable in long firearms, according to the regional police chief.
Chief Supt. Edward Carranza said a skilled sniper would have aimed for the head during the press conference that followed the re-enactment of the crime.
Carranza also disclosed that an empty shell of a 5.56-mm bullet was found a few meters from where the alleged position of the gunman was.
The empty shell will be cross matched with the data in the integrated ballistic information system of the Philippine National Police Crime Laboratory.
“If the firearm used was a licensed firearm, ma-identify natin ang owner, in the event na ang firearm ay wala sa data base natin, that is another problem,” Carranza said.
He said a bullet’s metal jacket found in Halili’s body during autopsy was also from a 5.56 mm.
There was only one gunshot heard in the video footage before the indiscriminate firing of Halili’s security aides.
During the re-enactment, police used a range finder to establish the actual distance between the gunman and Halili who was assassinated last Monday while attending the flag-raising ceremony at the municipal hall grounds. “Based on the trajectory of the bullet, the gunman is higher than the position of the mayor,” Carranza said.
Meanwhile, Carranza said they are still verifying the ownership of two vehicles allegedly seen near the city hall that might have been used as getaway cars.
Three persons of interest with links to illegal drug operations are being investigated by the Special Investigation Task Group (SITG), according to Carranza.
The regional police director revealed that illegal drug activities are rampant in the city. “We have also reports that there are personalities involved,” said Carranza who did not elaborate.
“I’ve been always telling this to barangay captains, if there are proliferation of drugs in the barangay, I do not believe that the barangay captain doesn’t know, maybe he’s not into it but he knows who are these people involved in illegal drugs and if you are really functioning as a local government official I think its inherent for them to stop this,” Carranza said.
Halili was included in the drug watch list of the PNP in 2016 and was stripped of control and supervision of the local police. Halili, known for parading drug suspects on the streets, denied the allegations.
Tanauan chief of police Supt. Renato Mercado said he pulled out the two police security aides of Halili last November. But he added that they continued to receive gas allowances to fund their operations and office supplies.
Carranza assured that there will be no white wash in the police investigation. “Pag sinabi mo kasi white wash, that’s your own perception, kung ano turn out ng evidence, hindi naman tayo rito based on opinion, tingnan natin yung mga physical evidences that can come up with the solution of the crime,” Carranza said.