TACLOBAN CITY – Family and supporters cry for justice on Wednesday as they laid to rest Calbayog City Mayor Ronald Aquino who was killed in a shootout with policemen on March 8.
The slain mayor’s wife Marcelina Aquino turned emotional as she called for the end of series of killings in Calbayog City, victimizing local government officials.
“Please stop the killing! We don’t want to see more wives mourning for the loss of their husband and children grieving for the death of their fathers,” Marcelina said during her husband’s necrological service at the Saints Peter and Paul Cathedral in Calbayog.
Samar 1st District Rep. Edgar Mary Sarmiento repeatedly demanded justice and to end the violence in Calbayog City.
“Our Mayor Ronald deserves justice. We owe it to him to have those responsible accountable. We owe it to our mayor and all the victims of senseless shootings and violence to stand up and make our voices heard that enough is enough!” Sarmiento said.
Mayor Diego Rivera, who replaced Aquino, urged the people of Calbayog to support the family of the late mayor in their quest for justice.
“Mayor Aquino was a very good friend to us and his service for the people of Calbayog was sincere. We supported all his plans. Why did they kill the man who sacrificed a lot for Calbayog? Those who killed him really made sure that he died by firing over 100 bullets to his car,” Rivera said.
The Samar provincial board reiterated its resolution passed on March 9 condemning the killing of the mayor as read by provincial board member Julius Mancol, a political ally.
“Let us act together in seeking peace and justice to all the victims and thunderously shout in unison (to) stop the killing! Be it resolved to condemn the strongest degree the act of violence against Aquino that resulted in his brutal and untimely demise,” Mancol said.
Wearing white shirts, some supporters held out banners carrying the message “Justice for Mayor Ronald Aquino!” and calling the Philippine National Police not to engage in politics as they joined the funeral procession from the Cathedral to Calbayog Memorial Park.
The mayor’s political allies insisted the incident on March 8 was politically-motivated.
The city government of Calbayog in Samar has declared March 24, 2021 (Wednesday) as a special non-working day in the entire city for Aquino’s funeral.
The National Bureau of Investigation and the Philippine National Police are still digging deeper into the March 8 shootout. At least seven policemen allegedly involved have been identified.
On March 8, the mayor and his aides were heading to their family-owned resort to attend his son’s birthday party after playing tennis when the firefight took place.
Killed were Aquino, two policemen from Samar PNP, a policeman assigned to secure the mayor, his driver, and a civilian. Two were wounded, including the mayor’s aide and a police officer.
Aquino, 59, was on his third and last term, served as mayor since 2011 after then-mayor Reynaldo Uy was killed in a fiesta celebration in Hinabangan, Samar. The incident remained unsolved. (PNA)