Probers eye politics in Malabon dad’s slay

Ramil Bajo, Rey Galupo - The Philippine Star

MANILA, Philippines - Malabon Councilor Merlin “Tiger” Mañalac’s murder was “politically motivated” and is not connected with the killing of a former New People’s Army member, sources said yesterday.

Mañalac’s assailants scattered leaflets as they escaped. The leaflets stated that they were members of the leftist group Partisano-Armadong Operatiba ng Partido Marxista-Leninista ng Pilipinas and the killing was “in retaliation for the murder of Peter Villaseñor.”

One source belied this claim, adding that “Villasenor was killed in the same fashion and the gunmen also left leaflets allegedly coming from the same group. This is a clear diversionary tactic to muddle and mislead the investigation.”

Mayor Antolin Oreta III has offered P200,000 as a reward for information leading to the capture of the killers but refused to comment on the death of one of his closes allies, according to Malabon public information chief Bong Padua.

Another source said Mañalac’s death may be linked to money changing hands as early as last year “to effect a shift of loyalty but it seems somebody did not honor the deal.”

Task group formed

Northern Police District (NPD) director Chief Superintendent Eric Serafin Reyes yesterday ordered the creation of Special Investigation Task Group (SITG) Merlin.

Senior Superintendent Rolando Anduyan, deputy district director for operations, will lead the task group, which will be composed of the heads of the NPD’s investigation, intelligence and operations units and crime laboratory and the Malabon police’s investigation unit.

An insider present when the task group was formed told The STAR that they are collating closed-circuit television footage of establishments in the area and “verifying names and personalities.” 

Mañalac, son of the late Malabon councilor and former police official Alfonso “Boyong” Manalac, was gunned down a few meters from his house on Perla street in Barangay Tenejeros shortly before 4 p.m. Saturday.

He was on the way to Barangay Tonsuya, where he was scheduled to meet Oreta and other members of the Liberal Party-Pusong Malabon Team.

Mañalac, who was running for re-election, was pronounced dead on arrival at the MCU Hospital in Caloocan City. 

Senior Superintendent Severino Abad Jr., Malabon police chief, said they are looking for witnesses who could identify at least four assailants – two lookouts and two gunmen on a red motorcycle.

Mañalac placed a poor seventh in the 2010 elections but was tapped to replace Edward dela Cruz, brother of actress and Barangay Longos chairwoman Angelica dela Cruz, after the councilor died in a vehicular accident a few months after being elected. 

In 2013, Mañalac won a seat on the city council and was poised to run for re-election this year.

Mañalac’s brother, Marlon, a graduating engineering student, was shot dead by Caloocan police officers in 1989. A local court later acquitted them.

Another brother, Police Officer 2 Melvin Mañalac, the eldest of six siblings, was gunned down at a fish market in Barangay Tanong in 2005, allegedly by members of the communist hit squad Alex Boncayao Brigade. Melvin’s fraternity brother, Senior Police Officer 1 Rodolfo Gatus, was also killed in the attack.













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