Thursday, May 22, 2008
Lapu-Lapu mayor’s lawyer murdered
CEBU CITY -- The lawyer of Lapu-Lapu City Mayor Arturo Radaza was killed Wednesday in an ambush at the corner of V. Sotto St. and M.J. Cuenco Ave. in Barangay Tinago, Cebu City.
Lawyer Richard William Sison, 52, died of multiple gunshot wounds, mostly in the head, two hours after the attack.
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He was shot repeatedly by a man described by witnesses as 5'3" tall, with a slim build and in his early 20's.
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According to initial investigation by the Homicide Section, Sison, who was driving his grey Toyota Hilux (GKP 376), was heading to his car's service center, which was located a few blocks away from where he was attacked at 11 a.m. Wednesday. He was alone in his car during the ambush.
Two men on a motorcycle tailed Sison, a witness who asked not to be named told Sun.Star Cebu.
Sison stopped for a red light at the intersection of V. Sotto St. and M.J. Cuenco Ave., in front of the Commission on Audit (COA) regional office. At this point, the motorcycle passenger alighted and then opened fire on Sison, with two successive burst of gunfire.
"Nagsunod ra ang motor sa sakyanan. Pag stoplight, na-naug ang nag-angkas unya ni pusil sa driver's side (The motorcycle tailed the vehicle. At the stoplight, the passenger alighted and shot the car at the deriver's side)," the witness told Sun.Star Cebu.
The shooter sprayed bullets on Sison, hitting the lawyer mostly in the head. The slugs exited the opposite window shield. Some of the slugs, which shattered the window shield, went inside the nearby Sacris Machine Shop, where several people were working. None of the workers were hurt.
Police officials told reporters the shooter likely used a submachine pistol.
Personnel from the Scene of the Crime Operation (Soco) 7 recovered 14 empty shells from a caliber 9mm that were scattered along the road, eight slugs and one bullet fragment at the crime scene.
Several witnesses told homicide investigators the gunman was not wearing a helmet or anything to cover his face.
The motorcycle, which was driven by an accomplice, then made a U-turn and sped towards the North Reclamation Area.
Sison was rushed to Chong Hua Hospital by paramedics of the Emergency Rescue Unit Foundation (Eruf), where he was the legal officer.
Cebu City Police Office (CCPO) Director Patrocinio Comendador, in a news conference, said Sison died at 1:20 p.m. at Chong Hua Hospital.
Cebu City Councilor Sylvan Jakosalem, who was among the officials who went to the hospital, said Sison was pronounced dead at 1:10 p.m. He said Sison had two bullet wounds in the head and two in the neck. He said he was told that the wounds on the neck were the most fatal since these "hit a major artery."
Radaza, a former policeman, said he believed the killer was a hired professional.
Sison was scheduled to fly to Haarlemmermeer in the Netherlands Thursday together with Mandaue City Mayor Jonas Cortes to solicit donations for more equipment to Eruf.
Radaza said he also gave Sison authority to discuss possible sister-city ties between Haarlemmermeer and Lapu-Lapu Cities.
The Mactan Island Chamber of Commerce, Inc., a group of businessmen who have recently been at odds with Lapu-Lapu officials over corruption allegations, also expressed shock at the killing.
The Lapu-Lapu City Council, meanwhile, agreed to discuss their action on the killing when other members are present.
The Integrated Bar of the Philippines-Cebu City chapter, meanwhile, approved a resolution denouncing the killing.
Comendador Wednesday called for a case conference on the killing and created Task Force Sison to focus efforts in solving who was behind the attack.
Comendador designated Superintendent Pablo Labra II as task force commander with investigators from the Homicide Section, Theft and Robbery Section, Criminal Investigation and Intelligence Bureau and Waterfront Police Station as members.
Labra said a relative told him Sison received a death threat through a phone call in the last week of March. He, however, declined to disclose more details.
Labra said he will be requesting Sison's family to turn over the victim's cellular phone to the police to help in the investigation.
Richard Dino, the victim's son, said they were shocked by the brutal killing. He said he received a threat through a phone call in March.
He said a man who was speaking in English told him "tell your dad to watch over his children if he doesn't want anything bad to happen." (JST/AIV/ Chloe Palang, UP Masscomm Intern/Sun.Star Cebu)
The assassin used a SMG on him.
I know the guy from my reservist days.
About the only positive thing arising from this unfortunate incident is that no calls for a gun ban, instead the IBP president here calls for lawyers to be armed...