EGAZPI CITY, Philippines - Police arrested yesterday one of the suspects and identified the gunman in the killing of Makati City engineer Nelson Morales in Malinao town on Friday.
Morales was the newly appointed chairman of the United Nationalist Alliance (UNA) in this province.
Chief Inspector Robert Gapuz, Malinao police chief, said the suspect is undergoing tactical interrogation.
“We have all the identities of the three other suspects. But due to our ongoing operations we are withholding their names,” Gapuz said.
Gapuz said at least three witnesses also positively identified a man who died on arrival at a hospital in Ligao City after the shooting, as the one who shot Morales.
Gapuz said the alleged gunman was identified as Christian Saysay, 22, a resident of Sitio Balinsayawan, Barangay Macadugos in Libon, Albay.
Saysay’s body bore gunshot and stab wounds.
“In his cellphone, we found text messages which detailed how the killing would be carried out, including the plate number of the victim and of the Malinao vice mayor,” Gapuz told a media briefing yesterday at the Morales house.
Binay condemns killing
Vice President Jejomar Binay deplored the killing of Morales and called on the police to go after the perpetrators of the crime.
“The family of Morales deserves justice,” Binay said.
Binay said Morales, who was city engineer of Makati since he was mayor, approached him early this year to seek advice on his plans to run for mayor of Malinao town.
“I said I admired his dedication to public service and his desire to serve his hometown. He told me that for so many years he served the people and city of Makati. It’s about time that he serves his hometown and his kababayans,” Binay said.
“His desire to serve, however, ended in the hands of assassins,” he said.
The Makati City government joined the call for the Philippine National Police to solve the killing.
“We are deeply saddened by the death of city engineer Nelson Morales. Nelson Morales was a hardworking city official and a dependable co-worker. He is also one of several city officials who enjoyed the full trust of Vice President Jejomar Binay during his term as mayor and incumbent Mayor Jun Binay,” said Makati City spokesman Joey Salgado.
“We condemn his killing and urge authorities to leave no stone unturned in the search for his killers and the masterminds. We extend our deepest condolences to his family, with whom we share a deep sense of loss over the senseless killing of a good man,” Salgado added.
Malinao Vice Mayor Alice Morales, sister of the victim, said her brother was appointed UNA chair in Albay only last Thursday.
Alice added that her brother was set to resign on Sept. 30 as Makati City engineer to file his certificate of candidacy.
Albay Gov. Joey Salceda, meanwhile, said the incident is “not good for Albay” and ordered Senior Superintendent Ruben Sodsod, Albay police director, to conduct a thorough investigation in coordination with Malinao police. – Cet Dematera, Celso Amo, Jose Rodel Clapano, Mike Frialde