In Abra, cops keep tight watch on motorcycle riders after lawyer’s slay


PRAY FOR JUSTICE The wake for slain lawyer Ma. Saniata Liwliwa Gonzales Alzate is held at the family house on Santiago Street in Bangued, Abra. In this photo taken on Sept. 16, Alzate’s casket is surrounded by wreaths although her family is requesting friends and visitors to offer prayers for justice in lieu of flowers. —PHOTO COURTESY OF GRENA ACOPIADO

BAGUIO CITY—Police in Abra’s capital town of Bangued have intensified their security measures days after a lawyer was gunned down by assailants on a motorcycle, authorities said on Monday.

According to Police Capt. Ronaldo Eslabra, public information officer of the Abra provincial police office, they have been enforcing an “aggressive campaign” against motorcycle riders as investigators continued their operation to hunt the culprits in the killing of lawyer Ma. Saniata Liwliwa Gonzales Alzate on Sept. 14.

“We have long been implementing Municipal Ordinance No. 57, or the prohibition of riding tandem. But we’re more aggressive right now in enforcing it,” Eslabra said in a phone interview.

Alzate, 48, was shot by one of two men on a motorcycle at 4:55 p.m. inside her car while she was parking in front of her house on Santiago Street in Zone 3.

Footage from one of the security cameras in the area showed that the gunman fired through the window on the driver side of her white Mitsubishi sedan and, after shooting her once, returned and fired some more shots.

The assailants sped off on their motorcycle, but their faces were captured by another security camera as they were only wearing caps.

Police said Alzate had multiple bullet wounds and was taken to the town’s Dr. Petronilo V. Seares Sr. Memorial Hospital where she died while being treated.

Police investigators recovered eight bullet cartridges from the crime scene.

Extensive probe

Eslabra said they were still determining the likely motives behind the murder of Alzate but he declined to provide details, noting that an extensive investigation was still ongoing.

“We have maximized the number of police personnel who were deployed not only in Bangued but also in the entire [Cordillera] region,” he said.

Eslabra said they had also tapped the personnel of the Regional Mobile Force Battalion and Provincial Mobile Force Company for police visibility and to ensure the security of the public.

On Sept. 16, Justice Secretary Jesus Crispin Remulla said the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) already had suspects in the killing of Alzate.

In his radio program, Remulla said the NBI was already collating evidence such as the closed-circuit television footage of the murder.

“They (NBI agents) were able to trace the route the suspects took,” Remulla said without elaborating.

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