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Drug suspect shot dead, live-in partner wounded

BY ADRIAN P. NEMES III

An alleged drug personality died while his live-in partner was wounded when a lone gunman barged into their rented house in Brgy. 2, Bacolod City, and shot them past 6 a.m. yesterday, the police said.

P/Lt. Joven Mogato, commander of Police Station 2, identified the fatality as Rhanz Morre Banias, 29, of Purok Maabi-abihon in Brgy. Banago and temporarily residing in Purok Sigay, Brgy. 2.

Banias died of gunshot wounds in his right arm and head while being treated at the Corazon Locsin Montelibano Memorial Regional Hospital, while his live-in partner, Mary Liza Pahamutang, 36, also of Purok Sigay, is recuperating at the Riverside Medical Center from the gunshot wounds she sustained in her left eye and body.

Investigations conducted by P/Staff Sgt. Gerwin Catolico showed that the couple was resting when the gunman, who was wearing a bike helmet and a face mask, entered their house and shot them.

Mogato said they are looking into rivalry on illegal drug trade as motive for the killing, adding that they already have witnesses to identify the gunman.

He said that Banias was under police surveillance for alleged illegal drug trade involvement, like the former partner of Pahamutang, who was not named.

The killing of Banias is already the fourth in Bacolod this month alone, but Bacolod City Police spokesperson, Lt. Ma. Liberty Indiape, said these are isolated cases, adding that the city “remains safe”.

On Feb. 9, Salvador Regalado, 42, alias Badong, was shot dead while standing at Jalandon Street in Brgy. 2, while Angelica Montalvo, 23, of Brgy. Banago, and Jerome Cientos, 62, of Brgy 29 were gunned down at Circumferential Road in Brgy. Tangub, and at Malalusan Street in Brgy. 32, respectively, on Feb. 3. Indiape said that to deter similar incidents from happening, police visibility has been intensified while foot and mobile patrol and random checkpoints are still in place.*

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