ORMOC CITY – The Ormoc City Police Office (OCPO) confirmed that the person who shot dead the chieftain of Barangay Catmon, Patricio Laude, past 7:00 in the evening on February 16, 2024, has been identified already.

According to Police Lieutenant Sheriza Jane Salazar, chief of Police Station 2, they have charged two people with murder and frustrated murder due to the death of Laude and the injury of Sangguniang Barangay Member Christopher Casimong.

Salazar stated that they will not yet reveal the identity of the gunman, for they are still waiting for a resolution from the prosecutor regarding the case they filed.

According to Salazar, they have two witnesses who positively identified the gunman based on the file photos of the noted gunmen that they showed.

It was learned that the gunman did not cover his face when he shot Laude and that he simply walked towards the waiting motorcycle afterwards, which made the witnesses see him clearly.

Further, the police are also investigating if the gunman who shot dead the former captain of Barangay Biliboy Francisco Villa a few days before the barangay election and the one who shot Laude are the same.

According to Salazar, based on their investigation, the gunman of Villa and Laude has a similar pattern: he walks away calmly after shooting and shoots the victim several times, making sure that the victim is dead.

Moreover, the police also plans to cross-match the bullets recovered from Villa and Laude’s crime scene to determine if the same type of weapon was used.

Salazar also shared that the two suspects they have charged belong to a “gun for hire” group, and they are all from Ormoc but operates in various areas in the province of Leyte and Southern Leyte.

The police are convinced that the gunman was ordered to kill the captain and that there’s someone else who instructed the gunman.

The police and Laude’s associates described him as an active chieftain due to his strict implementation of all laws.

Salazar also added that they also focused on the information that was spread that there is a businessman in Barangay Catmon who was hit by the chieftain’s activity.

The follow-up investigation by the police is still going on as to who is the mastermind behind Laude’s murder. By Gwen Maurillo (EV Mail Feb. 19-25, 2024 issue)