Two tribal leaders known for their anti-communist stance were shot dead by five armed men in Panabo City, Davao del Norte Wednesday afternoon, July 6.
Reports showed that Datu Ruben Labawan and his assistant Romeo Tanio were ambushed by five armed men onboard three motorcycles around 4:30 p.m. along Barangay Gredo in Panabo.
The victims just came from a meeting with other tribal leaders at the RJ3 Restaurant along the national highway.
The police said that before the ambush, five men in three motorcycles were seen waiting near the restaurant. The men even attempted to park inside the restaurant’s parking area.
Upon seeing the victims leave the restaurant, the assailants readily tailed them and ambushed the victims about 800 meters away from the said restaurant.
Labawan sustained several gunshot wounds and was declared dead upon arrival at a hospital in Panabo City.
Tanio was also hit in the body and was rushed to a hospital here in Davao City where he later expired.
Police said they found five empty shells of caliber .45 pistol from the crime scene and two deformed slugs of unknown caliber.
Police Chief Inspector Alvin Saguban, Panabo City Police chief, said they still have not identified the suspects behind the ambush. Asked if those responsible are members of the New People’s Army, Saguban said they just label them as lawless armed groups.
Saguban said they are still conducting an investigation on the matter. The authorities are also checking on the CCTV footages of the said restaurant for possible identification of the suspects who tried to enter its premises.
It was learned that Wednesday’s incident was the second attempt on Labawan’s life.