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Northern Luzon Town mayor Murdered in Manila

by Vener Malabanan Thursday, Jun. 29, 2006 at 4:53 AM
magsasakapil@hotmail.com 213-241-0906 337 Glendale Ave. Los Angeles, CA 90026

AS police authorities said politics was most likely behind the assassination of Mayor Delfinito Albano of Ilagan, Isabela, the National Bureau of Investigation started its probe into the murder and the National Democratic Front mourned his death. In a statement reported on ABS-CBN News Channel (ANC), the NDF-Cagayan Valley hailed Albano as a crusader for democracy, freedom, farmers’ rights and the right to information.

NBI joins probe into Albano murder

By Candice Y. Cerezo, Researcher

AS police authorities said politics was most likely behind the assassination of Mayor Delfinito Albano of Ilagan, Isabela, the National Bureau of Investigation started its probe into the murder and the National Democratic Front mourned his death.

In a statement reported on ABS-CBN News Channel (ANC), the NDF-Cagayan Valley hailed Albano as a crusader for democracy, freedom, farmers’ rights and the right to information.

Police said Albano, 45, married, was driving his dark-gray Isuzu Bighorn (XJA-359) on Dr. Lazcano Street, Barangay Laging Handa, when a white Toyota Revo (XJM-532) cut in and blocked his way at the corner of Scout Santiago Street about 11:10 p.m. Tuesday.

Three men with their faces covered with bonnets, suddenly got off the Toyota and shot up the Isuzu, Senior Police Officer 3 Demosthenes Rebancos, case investigator, said.

Albano managed to seek refuge at the Villa Estela Poolside Bar and Café just a few meters from where he was shot at, Rebancos added.

The killers, however, chased him and peppered his body with bullets just when he went inside the Café.

Police said customers and employees in the café failed to give pertinent comments because they immediately ducked for cover at the first shot.

Supt. Procopio Lipana of the Criminal and Investigation Division said the killers immediately fled in their getaway car. It was hard to say what direction the suspects took, because the vicinity has many intersections, he added.

Police later found out that the plate number used by the killers was stolen from the RAV 4 owned by Liwanag Victoria, who came forward to the police after receiving reports.

Before the shooting, Henrietta Abalos, a cousin of the mayor, told The Times that Albano’s mother Socorro told her that the mayor was about to sleep when he received a cell-phone call an hour before he was killed. Alone and wearing a blue T-shirt and gray short pants and slippers, Albano left his mother’s house in Greenhills, San Juan.

Abalos said Albano left Ilagan on Thursday and told his mother that he would be back within a week. He was supposed to return to Ilagan on Wednesday.

A police insider, who asked not to be identified, said Albano suffered 19 wounds from a 9mm-caliber gun, 12 of which hit the right side of his body—from the armpit down to the pelvic bone. Two bullets were still embedded in his body, the source added.

“The investigation is going on but we cannot give specific details at this time. Generally, we are looking at personal grudge and political motives,” said Senior Supt. Popoy Lipa, chief of the Criminal Investigation Division of the Quezon City police district.

Albano is the stepbrother of former Rep. Rodolfo Albano of Isabela, the chairman of the Energy Regulatory Commission, and the uncle of incumbent Rep. Rodolfo Albano 3rd of Isabela.

In 2004 Albano survived an ambush by gunmen in his province. He was wounded in the attack four years ago.

The National Bureau of Investigation has also launched a parallel investigation into the ambush.

Acting NBI Director Nestor M. Mantaring said, “In cases like this, it is generally the Philippine National Police that takes the lead. However, the NBI is also going to investigate so that if we are asked by the PNP to help or participate in a task force, we will have something to contribute at once and not start from zero.”

--With Katrice Jalbuena and ABS-CBN Interactive

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