“KIN OF RELUYA AMBUSH SUSPECT KILLED”

Photo of the slain Jomar Labitad (courtesy of DyHP RMN Cebu)

By Tonton Alcos Antogop

 

A relative of one of the suspects in the ambushed of San Fernando Mayor Lakambini Reluya was shot to death last night in a mountain Barangay in Cebu City. The fatality identified as Jomar Labitad, 35, was riding a motorcycle on his way home to Campo 4, Talisay City when he was shot at Sitio Mac-ac, Barangay Sinsin.

Labitad was hit on the chest and his back, a report of radio DyHP said. The victim was on bail after he was earlier arrested by the Criminal Investigation and Detection Group (CIDG-7) last February for alleged possession of illegal firearms.

According to the report, the police is looking into information that Labitad was liquidated by his own cousin Jerome, one of the suspects in the ambush of Mayor Reluya last January 22 in Linao, Minglanilla.

Jerome and his uncle, Felix Abacajan, a former councilman of Maghaway, Talisay City are now facing multiple murder charges and frustrated murder for the ambush of Reluya which resulted to the death of her husband and two others.

Jerome allegedly retaliated because Jomar squealed on his whereabouts and Abacajan which prompted to a police operation last January 29 against them in their hideout in Campo 4.

A crack team of the Provincial Intelligence Branch (PIB) operatives led by Police Captain Alejandro Batobalonos engaged the duo in a firefight who both managed to escape, however.

An Armalite M16 rifle was left by the two when they fled which the police subjected to a ballistics test comparing it with the recovered bullets in the scene of the ambush in Minglanilla.

The bullets matched with the rifle which strengthened the charges against the two, both of whom are also tagged by the police as hitmen of suspected drug lord Franz Sabalones. Reluya’s husband, Ricardo, and two other municipal employees died in the ambush when their Toyota Grandia van was peppered with bullets while they were on their way to Cebu City from San Fernando.

The Mayor survived along with her bodyguards Giovanni Perez and Jefer Tolentin who positively identified Jerome and Abacajan as their gunmen. Ricardo would have been the running mate of his wife in the forthcoming May 13 polls.

His son Ricci Regens, 26, substituted for the then Barangay Captain of Panadtaran, who also was an ex-officio municipal councilor by virtue of his Presidency of the town’s Association of Barangay Councils (ABC).