By Dominique Gabriel G. Bañaga
An Ayungon barangay captain who was earlier reported to be in critical condition following a reported suicide attempt has since passed away. Negros Oriental Police Provincial Office director, Police Colonel Raul Tacaca, said 51-year-old Sunny Calderon, barangay captain for the town’s Barangay Mabato, died late Tuesday morning at the Silliman University Medical Center intensive care unit in Dumaguete City.
According to Ayungon municipal police chief, Police Major Romel Luga, after the barangay official ingested pesticide as a means of killing himself, his plans were thwarted after his family discovered him lying down and vomiting, and rushed him to a hospital.
Last Tuesday, Philippine National Police Director-General Oscar Albayalde indicated Calderon would be included as a suspect after four Ayungon police officers were earlier murdered by the New People’s Army (NPA) in his neighborhood. Additionally, Police Regional Office-7, accused the barangay captain of failing to inform authorities that his area had a high presence of rebel activity.
The four slain police officers, identified as Police Corporal Relebert Beronio and Police Patrolmen Raffy Callao, Ruel Cabellon, and Marquino de Leon, were reportedly captured, tortured, and killed by at least 15 NPA rebels.
In response, police have already filed charges against the alleged perpetrators, Victoriano Bangala Anadon, Jr., Jonathan Baldivino, Rengie Anadon Baluhabo, Gelie Anadon Ebedo, Joseph Torres Ogates, and Jelly Anadon Ebedo. Based on witness testimony and photos, all six were identified as suspected NPA members.
Robbery charges were also filed after they allegedly took the police officers’ service firearms and other personal belongings.
Meanwhile, President Rodrigo Duterte has offered P1 million for the capture of those responsible for the deaths./DGB, WDJ