By ERWIN MASCARIÑAS
BUTUAN City – A still unidentified armed group ambushed and killed the leader of a Land Transportation Office team going after public vehicles operating illegally in Surigao City on Wednesday morning.
Armed men also wounded two of the LTO team members.
Police identified the fatality as Felixberto Loayon and the wounded as Rene Cenangote and Freddie Wabina.
The Caraga police said the LTO team was attacked in Sitio Bioborjan, Barangay Rizal in Surigao City at around 8:10 am while the victims were riding a government vehicle headed towards the city proper.
There were two others from the LTO — Rene Aquino and Paul Henry Dona — who were with the group but they were driving seized vehicles to the LTO District Office.
“The Surigao city police station is on the ground, investigating the incident,” said Caraga police spokesman Christian Rafols.
Nordy Plaza, LTO director for Caraga, condemned the attack, and assured that the LTO regional office would help the wounded and the families of the victims especially Loayon’s.
Police said Loayon was with his assistant Estribo Belarmino and team members Cenangote and Wabina for an “anti-colorum operation” in Surigao City in response to a complaint sent through the government’s 8888 Hotline.
Investigators said the attack was carried out when the group reached Biorbojan in Barangay Rizal. Only Belarmino was unscathed.
Maria Kristina Cassion, officer-in-charge of Land Transportation and Franchising and Regulatory Board (LTFRB) in Caraga, said she was saddened by the killing of Loayon who she called “our partner and counterpart in the field in the enforcement operations.”
Cassion said she suspected the attack was related to the LTO team’s work and that it was to get back at the victims because of the apprehensions.