MASBATE CITY: Municipal bookkeeper Jesus Baguio, 59, could have revealed sensitive information that led to the filing in January of dishonesty and grave misconduct charges against municipal officials of Esperanza, Masbate, the Philippine National Police (PNP) said.
Baguio was shot dead in Barangay Tunga in Esperanza, about seven kilometers from the town proper on Oct 5, the last day for filing of certificates of candidacy for various positions in the 2013 midterm elections.
Esperanza is about 130km south of this provincial capital.
Inspector Rodrigo Lim, officer in charge of the PNP in Esperanza, said they found out that Baguio was a relative of a certain Evelyn Conag, who filed the cases against Esperanza Mayor Mac John Seachon and all members of the Sangguniang Bayan.
Conag is running against Editha Seachon, mother of Mac John, in the small town’s mayoralty race.
Lim said the possibility that the killing is election-related was slim.
Instead, he said, they were working on the angle that the incident was related to the sensitive position held by the victim and the job-related information that he could have revealed to people.
“Although he was a bookkeeper, he was not among those in the municipal government who were charged with dishonesty and grave misconduct,” Lim said.
He said the victim had been a permanent employee of the municipal government and based on their initial investigation had no political affiliations.
He said that they were ruling out the land dispute angle that previously had been explored as one of the motives for the killing.
Lim added that the killing of Baguio could have been timed with the week for filing of COC so it would appear as election-related.
“There’s a probability that the timing is a diversionary tactic,” he said.
But Senior Supt Heriberto Olitoquit, director of the PNP in Masbate, said they were yet to rule out politics behind the gunning down of Baguio.
Seachon confirmed he was being accused of dishonesty and grave misconduct over supposed irregular disbursement of funds for the construction of an “executive building” in Esperanza.
But he said he and other municipal officials already filed counter-affidavits before the Ombudsman and were confident that they would win the case.
“The [Commission on Audit] personnel who personally came here to investigate the supposed illegal disbursement of fund found out nothing anomalous,” said Seachon in a phone interview.
He also said he had nothing against Baguio and Baguio also had nothing against him because the bookkeeper even asked him to be godfather of his daughter a month ago. – Bicol Mail