BY GILBERT P. BAYORAN
A police intelligence officer, who had just a brief talk with Pontevedra Mayor Jose Maria Alonso, was shot and killed by a lone gunman wearing a face mask at the reclamation area in Barangay 1-Poblacion, Pontevedra, Negros Occidental yesterday morning.
The police officer, identified as SSgt. Ildefonso Casugod, sustained a lone gunshot wound in the head, and was declared dead on arrival at the Bago City District Hospital, Capt. Hancel Lumandaz, the Pontevedra police chief, said.
Lumandaz said the killing of Casugod, 37, intelligence officer of the Pontevedra Police Station, may be job-related, as he was actively involved in the fight against illegal drugs and gambling, and in the arrest of most wanted persons in the town.
Initial investigations of the Pontevedra police showed that Casugod alighted from his bike, approached and greeted Alonso when he saw the mayor and two others jogging in the area at about 6 a.m. yesterday.
After a brief greeting, the two parted ways and Lumandaz said the unidentified gunman, wearing a hooded black jacket and jogging pants, and a face mask, and who was trailing Casugod, shot him in the head and fled on foot towards a waiting motorcycle.
The gunman was armed with a .45 caliber pistol, the police said.
Lumandaz said that Alonso and his bodyguard, Ramon Briguelo, and SFO2 Edmund Cabatas, were unharmed.
Alonso said he did not witness the actual shooting of Casugod, as he had turned around after their brief conversation.
Lumandaz described Casugod, of Brgy. Recreo, Pontevedra, as a good police officer and dedicated to his work.
Alonso and Governor Eugenio Jose Lacson called on authorities to exert their best efforts in identifying the gunman, in order to give justice to his killing.
Lacson said Alonso was never under threat. “I think the target was very specific on the police officer,” he added.
Lacson expressed hope that the family of Casugod will get the justice they are seeking.
The Pontevedra PNP said in a statement that they strongly condemn the killing of Casugod.
“To the families and loved ones left behind by our fallen comrade, please accept our sincerest condolences and sympathy. Justice will be served. Rest in Peace Brother,” the statement added.
Col. Romy Palgue, provincial police director of Negros Occidental, said they are also looking into the involvement of communist rebels. Palgue reminded policemen to be vigilant, as the Communist Party of the Philippines is marking its 52nd founding anniversary on Dec. 26.*