Leftist group denies hand in Malabon councilor’s slay

Ramil Bajo, Rey Galupo (The Philippine Star) - January 26, 2016 - 9:00am

MANILA, Philippines - A man claiming to be a member of the leftist group that reportedly ambushed Malabon City Councilor Merlin Mañalac last week denied any participation in the killing yesterday.

The Partisano-Armadong Operatiba ng Partido Marxista-Leninista ng Pilipinas was used to cover up for the murder of Mañalac, “Ka Eldie” told The STAR.

Ka Eldie condemned the manner by which the group was used to mislead police investigators.

“We condemned the use of the group to muddle the truth surrounding the death of Councilor Mañalac,” he said.

An official of the Northern Police District confirmed that they received “feelers” from the group denying its participation in the killing.

“We believe that leftists are not in anyway connected to the murder and they are being dragged into this as a diversionary tactic,” the police official said.

Suspects’ lair raided

Members of the Malabon police raided the suspects’ lair in Barangay Tonsuya Sunday afternoon but missed them by a few hours.

 A source said a group, whose members are mostly natives of Masbate, was hired by a broker from Barangay Tanong in Malabon to assassinate Mañalac.

“The suspects used the house as a take off point. They probably stayed in the house four to five days and left after their operation. One thing is certain though they are not from Malabon,” the source said.

Mañalac, son of the late Malabon councilor and former police official Alfonso “Boyong” Mañalac, was shot dead by two men on a motorcycle a few meters from his house on Perla street in Barangay Tenejeros at around 4 p.m. on Saturday.

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

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

The killers scattered leaflets as they escaped. The leaflets stated that they were members of the group and the killing was “in retaliation for the murder of Peter Villaseñor.”

Probers said two lookouts were spotted near Mañalac’s house as early as 9 a.m.

An official of the Malabon police said they sought assistance from Camp Crame to enhance the footage of the closed-circuit television camera on Perla street for possible identification of the suspects.

“The key here is to identify the broker – the person who was contracted to contact the killers – as he can lead us to the mastermind. We are not discounting other angles, including politics,” the official said.

Son to replace Manalac?

Meanwhile, Oreta said they are looking at Mañalac’s eldest son, Peng, to replace him in the city council.

Peng, 22, said he wants to continue the advocacies and programs of his father.

Mañalac’s wife said his husband has no enemies.

“All he wanted was to clean the image of the Mañalacs and help the people,” she said.

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