Negros councilor shot dead

Gilbert Bayoran - The Philippine Star

BACOLOD CITY, Philippines — Councilor Bernardino Patigas Sr. of Escalante, Negros Occidental was gunned down in Barangay Alimango on Monday.

Initial investigation showed Patigas, who was seeking reelection, was driving his motorcycle when he was shot from behind by a man riding another motorbike.

Quoting witnesses, Col. Romeo Baleros, Negros Occidental police officer-in-charge, said the assailant shot the victim in the head when he fell from his motorcyle.

Three bullet shells for a caliber .45 pistol were recovered at the scene.

The incident occurred when Patigas, who was campaigning with other candidates in Barangay Tamlang, decided to go home.

Patigas, was a former secretary-general of the Northern Negros Human Rights Alliance and survivor of the Escalante massacre.

He was the third Negros councilor slain this month after Jolomar Hilario of Moises Padilla, also in Negros Occidental, and Miguel Dungog, president of the Philippine Councilor’s League in Negros Oriental.

Meanwhile, on Saturday, Walter Balayo, 51, a leader of Task Force Mapalad, a federation of farmers’ groups, was shot dead in Sagay City.

Probers are looking into a land dispute or a grudge as the possible motive for the killing.

Maj. Antonio Benitez, Sagay City police chief, said Balayo had a conflict with several federation members over their share of land under the Comprehensive Agrarian Reform Program.

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