Maranan said they already have persons of interest in the attack but declined to disclose further details for operational reasons.
DWCM Aksyon Radyo Pangasinan/Violy Valdez-Ferrer
Task force on Espino ambush formed
Eva Visperas (The Philippine Star) - September 13, 2019 - 12:00am

SAN CARLOS CITY, Pangasinan, Philippines — The provincial police has activated a special task force to focus on the investigation of the ambush of former governor Amado Espino Jr. last Wednesday.

This developed as police yesterday found two of the three getaway vehicles in separate places in the province.

A Hyundai Elantra was found abandoned in Barangay Cobol while a Ford Everest was recovered in Barangay Pasima, both in Malasiqui town.

Police are still looking for the third getaway vehicle, a black Toyota Wigo.

Lawmen recovered five M16 rifles, two M14 rifles, a 12-gauge shotgun, one hand grenade and several rounds of ammunition from the two vehicles.

Police provincial director Col. Redrico Maranan said the task force will focus on identifying the gunmen behind the ambush.

Maranan said they already have persons of interest in the attack but declined to disclose further details for operational reasons.

Police has yet to determine the motive behind the attack but Maranan said they are not discounting the possibility that it could be related to Espino’s background as a politician and former police officer.

Maranan revealed Espino sought assistance sometime last week due to the threats he has been receiving. He was then given two policemen as temporary security escorts, the policeman added.

Espino survived the attack while one of his six police bodyguards, identified as Cpl. Richard Esguerra, was killed after they were ambushed by unidentified armed men in San Carlos City on Wednesday.

The gunmen boarded the three vehicles and fled towards Malasiqui, police said.

Espino and his men just came from Basista town when they were waylaid in Barangay Magtaking, this city.

Maranan said the gunmen, around 10 of them, had been waiting for the victims at the scene as shown in security video footage.

Malacañang yesterday condemned the slay attempt on Espino.

“Well, we certainly condemn the kind of ambush. It’s a dastardly act against a citizen of this country, and we will not allow criminal acts perpetrated by these transgressors of law,” presidential spokesman Salvador Panelo said.

“We will investigate the case thoroughly, PNP is in fact doing that and we will prosecute those who are behind the attempt on the life of the former governor, congressman Espino as well as the death of one of his security men,” he added.

Congressmen also condemned the attack on Espino, their former colleague at the House of Representatives.

“The House under Speaker Alan Peter Cayetano condemns in the strongest possible terms this attempt on the life of Congressman Espino in Barangay Magtaking in San Carlos City that killed at least one of his bodyguards,” Deputy Speaker Luis Raymond Villafuerte said.  - Emmanuel Tupas, Christina Mendez, Jess Diaz

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