DAGUPAN CITY –Gov. Amado Espino Jr. condemned in the strongest terms possible the murder of Mayor Ernesto Balolong Jr. and his bodyguard even as he ordered concerned agencies to get to the bottom of the crime.
Killed with Balolong was his bodyguard PO1 Eliseo Ulanday, a member of the Urbiztondo Police Station and one Edmond Meneses, an electrician at CSI Supermarket Urbiztondo.
Balolong was brought at Elguera Hospital in San Carlos City but was proclaimed dead on arrival (DOA). He sustained 27 gunshot wounds in different parts of his body.
On the other hand, Ulanday and Meneses were also declared DOA at the Virgen Milagrosa University Foundation Hospital.
Wounded in the shooting and are now recuperating at VMUFH are Jose Vigilia, a stockman of CSI; and Rogelio Esguerra, “taho” vendor, a native of Urbiztondo, who was in the vicinity when gunmen who used automatic weapons opened fire on the mayor and his bodyguard.
The cold-blooded killing happened on Rizal Street just in front of CSI Supermarket perpetrated by unidentified armed men on board a van.
“Absolutely, no one in any way would benefit from the crime except those with distorted values and deranged minds,” said Espino, in a statement texted to the media by Provincial Information Officer Butch Velasco.
Espino found it ironic that just one day after he convened the provincial peace and order council to further discuss various measures to further ensure the safety of the people of Pangasinan, this cold-blooded killing happened.
Members of the Scene of the Crime Operatives (SOCO) are now lifting fingerprints on a brand new Sports Utility Vehicle (SUV) Innova, colored black, abandoned in Barangay Cauayan Kiling, San Carlos City which was believed to be the get-away vehicle of the perpetrators.
Balolong, on his second term as mayor of Urbiztondo, was gunned down while he was about to inspect a social hall where a reception will be held the next day to celebrate his and his wife Myrna’s 25th wedding anniversary and the wedding of his eldest son Voltaire.
He just fought off a new attempt to impose his second preventive suspension on account of administrative case filed against him before the Sangguniang Panlalawigan which he appealed to Malacanang and which decided in his favor.
His house was raided and arrested by the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) last year and the Philippine National Police the other year where they seized several high powered firearms but all of these were licensed.
Balolong belongs to the Liberal Party.