Hired guns, illicit affairs seen behind Cagayan priest’s murder

  • Written by Alfred Dalizon
  • Published in Nation
  • Read: 1129

PROFESSIONAL hitmen acting on orders of a person who has an ax to grind against Fr. Mark Anthony Ventura and the latter’s alleged illicit affairs with some women are among the angles being pursued by the police who are investigating the assassination of the well-loved parish priest in Gattaran, Cagayan last month, Police Regional Office 2 director, Chief Superintendent Jose Mario M. Espino, said yesterday.

Espino said members of Special Investigation Task Group Ventura are still tracking down the gunman and his cohort who fled on board a motorcycle after killing Fr. Ventura in a multi-purpose hall in Barangay Piña Weste which has been converted into a place for worship.

“We’re conducting a background check on two identified ‘persons of interest’ right now and are looking for more witnesses that could identify them,” he said without elaborating.

A day after President Duterte presented a matrix titled Possible Motive (Love Triangle) in his speech during the town feast of Tabongon, Cebu, Espino confirmed that the supposed illicit affairs of Fr. Ventura are only among the angles being looked into in the priest’s murder.

He even said they are looking into the supposed illicit affairs of the priest with at least eight women. President Duterte said among the women in the matrix are married to a vice mayor, a policeman, a soldier, and a businessman.

“’Yan pong mga ganyan, part po ng imbestigasyon. ’Yan din po ang nakukuha naming information sa baba, so may ganon pong anggulo na ‘yun po ang tinitingnan natin,” said Espino in referring to the supposed illicit affairs of the slain priest.

Espino said personal grudge in the priest’s killing may fall under the love angle.

Espino has released a computerized facial composite of the suspect in the priest’s killing and asked any person who has an information regarding the gunman to contact the hotline of the Cagayan police: 0917-5233562 or 078-844-1477 with the assurance that his or her identity will be kept in utmost secrecy.

A total of P200,000 in reward money has been offered for any information that would lead to the arrest of the suspects.

Fr. Ventura, the parish priest of San Isidro Labrador Mission Station based in Bgy. Mabuno in Gattaran municipality suffered gunshot wounds in the head and chest and died on the spot.