Manila village chief slain; drugs eyed
- Rey Galupo (The Philippine Star) - October 14, 2016 - 7:28pm

MANILA, Philippines - A barangay chairman was gunned down by unidentified assailants minutes after coming out of a police precinct in Manila Thursday night.

Barangay 296 chairman Rico Echalos went to the Gandara police community precinct at past 8 p.m. to help one of his constituents, who was earlier arrested for estafa, said Senior Police Officer 2 Charles John Duran.

After learning that the case had been referred to the office of Superintendent Amante Daro, Manila Police District Station 11 commander, Echalos decided to go home. 

While Echalos was walking at the corner of Gandara and Ongpin streets, four men on two motorcycles crossed his path and shot him repeatedly at around 9 p.m.

Bystanders rushed the victim to the Metropolitan Hospital but he died while being treated.

A source said Echalos was on the police radar following reports he was a protector of “Tirso,” allegedly a drug pusher who was killed in the area several months ago. 

The source told The STAR that Tirso’s relatives confronted Echalos several days ago and pointed to him as the mastermind in Tirso’s murder.

“There were rumors that he killed Tirso because he was afraid that the buck would stop with him once the former is arrested,” he said.

Daro ordered a deeper investigation but refused to elaborate, saying that there are so many angles in the case that “need to be scrutinized closely.”

Erap has own ‘narco-list’

Meanwhile, Mayor Joseph Estrada said in a statement yesterday that he has his own list of city officials who are either users or coddlers of drug syndicates and will “reveal it once it is completed and I’m sure of the list.”

Estrada said “a few” of the city’s 896 barangay chairpersons have been confirmed to be into drugs and are under investigation.

He said he is sure that there are no city councilors and city department heads on the drug list because all of them have been tested for drugs in August.
Last Sunday, Estrada announced he will subject barangay officials – from the chairmen to the councilors – to mandatory drug testing.

This is an offshoot of the Oct. 7 raid on the Islamic Center in Quiapo, where Barangay 648 chairman Faiz Macabato was killed when he shot it out with police officers who were arresting his brother, a suspected pusher.

Macabato was among the barangay chairmen who did not comply with the city government’s directive to submit a list of suspected users and pushers in their respective communities. – With Jose Rodel Clapano, Ghio Ong

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