MisOcc town mayor dies days after ‘sniper’ attack

MisOcc town mayor dies days after ‘sniper’ attack

TANGUB CITY, Misamis Occidental – Lopez Jaena town Mayor Michael P. Gutierrez who was initially hurt in a “sniper” attack during a Christmas party in this city last week has died, his daughter, Lopez Jaena Councilor Andrea “Pinky” Gutierrez, said on Facebook on Monday.

“A life so beautifully lived deserves to be beautifully remembered. He was a light in this world, and now we need to continue shining his light by carrying it within us in our own lives,” she said on behalf of her family, as the province mourned the local chief executive’s death.

Based on an initial report by the Tangub City Police Station, Gutierrez was hit on the nape with slug and glass debris as a result of the sniper bullet supposedly to target Misamis Occidental 2nd District Rep. Henry Oaminal around 8:45 p.m. on December 22.

Gutierrez was supposed to run for vice governor in tandem with Oaminal who will run for governor in the 2022 elections.

Andrea earlier documented how her father had been initially declared safe from harm a day after the incident but was closely being monitored at a hospital in Ozamiz City.

However, she later posted on her Facebook that her father had to be transferred to the Intensive Care Unit on December 25.

In a Facebook post, Rep. Oaminal dangled a PHP5-million bounty for anyone who could provide information that would lead to the arrest and imprisonment of the assailants.

“This brazen and senseless act of violence has no place in a democratic society, especially when it threatens our fundamental right to vote. We cannot let fear and injustice prevail over us,” he said. 

Ozamiz City Mayor Sancho Oaminal, party-mate of Gutierrez, said the latter’s death was a tragic and heartbreaking development, “most especially during this season of love and peace.”

“The desperate, cowardly and violent act which led to Mayor Michael’s death should be condemned, and justice should be sought. Yes, it was a desperate act — anybody who commits murder for whatever reason must be in great distress and recklessly desperate,” he said in a Facebook post.

Meanwhile, Justice Secretary Menardo Guevarra in a Philippine News Agency report on December 23 said the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) in the region will be on standby, as the Philippine National Police makes their initial investigation.

In a statement Thursday last week, December 23, Brig. Gen. Benjamin Acorda Jr., Police Regional Office – Northern Mindanao (PRO-10) director, said a special investigation task group (SITG) will look into identifying the perpetrators behind the attempt on Oaminal, Gutierrez, and former Oroquieta City mayor Jason Almonte, who also plans to run for 1st District Representative of the province.

Another bounty

In a press conference Monday, Misamis Occidental 1st Dist. Rep. Diego Ty also offered a PHP1-million bounty on the head of the perpetrators behind the death of Gutierrez.

“This money comes from my wife. She told me this is to show our respect and friendship to the mayor (Gutierrez),” he said.

Despite coming from different political parties for the 2022 elections, Ty considered Gutierrez as his “brother.”

Ty also denied the accusations of his alleged involvement in the attack.

Provincial Gov. Philip Tan also extended condolences to the Gutierrez family. Tan, who also spoke on behalf of his local party, said they do not resort to violence in dealing with other opposing local parties.

“We categorically deny the insinuation and allegation that the shooting was politically motivated,” he said.

He also said that the provincial government welcomes the investigation of the SITG and even the NBI. (PNA)

Leave a Reply