Deeper probe into the killing of Bukidnon mayor sought

By Cris Diaz

Update

CAGAYAN DE ORO CITY – Provincial governor Jose Maria Zubiri on Thursday called for a deeper investigation on the ambushed-killing of Impasug-ong town mayor Mario T. Okinlay on Wednesday.

Zubiri said that until the communist New People’s Army (NPA) issues a statement to claim the ambushed of Okinlay, the provincial government could not issue a conclusive statement on the incident.

Zubiri made the statement when the local press sought his reaction to the ambush which resulted in the death of Okinlay on Wednesday.

He said that a deeper investigation of the case would likely determine the real motive in the slaying of Mayor Okinlay.

Zubiri said that the military has reported that three to five unidentified gunmen ambushed Okinlay on board his motorcycle on his way back to the municipal town of Impasug-ong after a medical mission in the village of Bontongon on Tuesday.

“Okinlay led the medical mission in Bontongon in coordination with the military and the local police. The party stayed overnight in Bontongon where Okinlay held a consultative meeting with the farming folk,” Zubiri said.

He said that Okinlay and his group left Bontongon early morning Wednesday heading to the town proper when the ambush took place.

“Okinlay was riding his own motorcycle ahead of the escorts and military convoy when waylaid by the armed men. I think that Okinlay was the target of the ambush because the perpetrators did not harm the military convoy and the escorts behind him,” Zubiri said.

Maj. Christian Uy, spokesperson of the army’s 4th Infantry Division, said that the military and police escorts engaged the unidentified armed men in a brief firefight.

He said that the armed men were believed members of the NPA, the military arm of the Communist Party of the Philippines.

The military rushed Okinlay to a hospital in Bukidnon, 30 kilometers southeast of Impasug-ong. However, the attending physicians pronounced Okinlay dead on arrival with gunshot wounds in the body and arms.

Okinlay was an active supporter of the provincial government’s peace and development efforts in Bukidnon, Zubiri said.

Okinlay was also the brother of Sylvia Okinlay-Paraguya, a member of the government peace panel negotiating with the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) during the Arroyo administration. (PNA)

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