CAGAYAN DE ORO CITY – The national leadership of presidential candidate Rodrigo Duterte’s party has called for an immediate investigation into the shooting death of one of its coordinators who was killed Sunday.
Based on a police report, Gomercindo Piloton, 49 and one of Duterte’s supporters, was shot several times and died on the spot inside his store in Barangay Bayanga here.
In a statement, Sen. Aquilino Pimentel III, president of Partido ng Demokratikong Pilipino-Lakas ng Bayan (PDP-Laban), urged authorities “to conduct a thorough investigation of Piloton’s murder and to exert all-out efforts to bring the perpetrator to justice.
“We demand justice for Piloton since we believe his murder is the direct offshoot of his work with the party as area coordinator. This should not go unpunished as this incident is a brazen mockery of our electoral process,” he added.
Marlo Tabac, head of the local PDP-Laban council, said he informed Pimentel about Piloton’s killing hours after the incident, and the senator had instructed him to verify and coordinate with authorities in the investigation.
Tabac said the party’s national and local councils will also be extending assistance to the victim’s family.
The police have yet to determine if the shooting of Piloton had something to do with politics.
Senior Insp. Michael Deloso, the city police spokesperson, in an interview yesterday said it was too early for authorities to tell if the killing can be classified as an election-related incident (ERI).
For a killing to be considered an ERI, he said it has to be validated first by a special committee created by the Philippine National Police’s regional office.
Based on initial investigation, Deloso noted Piloton was said to be involved in treasure hunting activities, and this was one of the angles that the police are focusing on.
“He (Piloton) was just dragged into politics because he was identified as one of Duterte’s supporters,” he added.
Citing a police report, Pimentel said Piloton went to the hinterland villages of Taglimao and Tumpagon on April 30 to give last-minute instructions to a group of poll watchers as part of their orientation in preparation for the May 9 local and national elections.
Insp. Dennie Ebsolo, police station 8 chief, was quoted as saying Piloton had no criminal record prior to his death.