By Jigger J. Jerusalem
AUTHORITIES on Wednesday said they have already identified “persons of interest” who may be involved in the shooting of a public school teacher in a remote village in Valencia City, Bukidnon on Oct. 15.
“We already have the names of these persons of interest,” said Lt. Col. Surki Sereñas, Valencia police chief, although he did not yet divulge their identities pending the filing of appropriate charges.
Shot several times was Zhydee Cabeñelez, a teacher at Dalit Elementary School in Sitio Dalit, Barangay Lumbayao, Valencia.
Cabeñelez, who’s now recuperating in a medical facility, was with her husband-teacher Ramil when four armed men barged into her classroom and carried out the attack.
Sereñas said the suspected perpetrators are affiliated with the New People’s Army (NPA) who are based in Bukidnon.
According to a report, Cabeñelez’s father Zaldy used to be a member of the NPA whose task was to collect revolutionary taxes in the area, but that he continued to extract money from quarry operators even after he surrendered to the government.
It added that Zaldy went into hiding due to unremitted money to the NPA and that his daughter was targeted because of that.
But Sereñas said they are still determining the veracity of that report.
He also said police officers are keeping watch over the hospital where Cabeñelez is presently confined.
“The policemen are there to protect her as she is recovering,” he said, adding that they have been instructed not to allow any person or group who might want to visit her without clearance from the Department of Education’s division office in Valencia.
“She asked not to be disturbed during her confinement. We are just complying with her request,” Sereñas said.
He said they have strengthened the security due to the information that ACT Teachers Rep. France Castro wants to visit Cabeñelez despite her request for privacy.
In an interview with Bukidnon-based reporters, Cabeñelez denied she is a member of the ACT although the group has early claimed she is one of them.
Cabeñelez said she attended a seminar organized by ACT sometime in 2016 but did not sign up for membership.
In a statement ACT released following Cabeñelez’s shooting, the teachers’ group said she is their member.