MANILA, Philippines - A third-year BS Agriculture student of the University of the Philippines Los Baños (UPLB) was stabbed dead in a holdup by two motorcycle-riding men in Laguna before dawn yesterday, police said.
The victim, Ray Bernard Peñaranda, 19, who hailed from Tanay, Rizal, was stabbed in the chest and died while being rushed to the hospital.
Senior Superintendent Gilbert Cruz, Laguna police director, immediately sacked Senior Superintendent Dante Novicio, Los Baños police chief, and 50 of his men not only for the killing of Peñaranda but also for the rape-slay of a 14-year-old sampaguita vendor last Feb. 29.
“I have ordered the relief of Novicio and his men. They would be transferred to another assignment and replaced by personnel from the Laguna provincial command,” Cruz said.
Chief Inspector Conrad Masungsong will replace Novicio as officer-in-charge of the Los Baños police.
Cruz placed the town police under the control of the Laguna provincial command until the killings of Peñaranda and the sampaguita vendor are solved.
Peñaranda, together with two fellow members of the UPLB dance group, went out of his apartment in Barangay Batong Malake in Los Baños to get something to eat.
They were walking home along Santos Street at around 1:30 a.m. yesterday when two men on a blue Honda motorcycle blocked their path and announced a holdup, Cruz said.
Witnesses said Peñaranda and his companions tried to put up a fight but one of the two men punched and then stabbed the UPLB junior.
Cruz said he is checking reports that the holdup men managed to divest Peñaranda and his two friends of their cellphones before fleeing toward Lopez Avenue.
Cruz said his men are now scouring Los Baños and neighboring towns for the two holdup men.
“We have information on the identities of the suspects and we are now going after them,” Cruz told The STAR. – With Ed Amoroso - By Non Alquitran (