File photo ng pinaslang na Pala'wan chieftain na si Poldo Ladiam Kirao ng bayan ng Bataraza. Siya ay binaril habang naka-angkas sa motorsiklo sa Brgy. Sandoval. (Contributed photo)

Police investigators in Bataraza town said they are investigating several possible motives in the killing of Pala’wan tribal chieftain Poldo Ladiam Kirao.

Kirao, 69, was shot and killed while pillion riding with another Pala’wan chieftain, Hadting Anggan Ilajan, on their way to Brgy. Rio Tuba from Brgy. Tarusan in the same municipality at around 8:20 a.m. on May 18, according to a spot report released by the Police Provincial Office (PPO).

Based on post mortem information, the former indigenous mandatory representative (IPMR) from Brgy. Culandanum died from a bullet wound to the left armpit.

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Bataraza Municipal Police Station (MPS) chief P/Maj Dhennies Acosta told Palawan News that they are investigating three possible motives for his murder: a land dispute, the possibility that Ilajan was the intended target, and election-related.

“Dinaanan lang siya ni chieftain Ilajan ng Brgy. Tarusan para isabay siya papunta sa Rio-Tuba, kasi parang may trabaho sila doon,” he said.

“Mag-iimbestiga pa kami, titingnan natin dahil sakop pa tayo ng election period, titingnan natin kung election-related ito o dahil sa [agawan] sa lupa, at kung siya ba talaga ang target o ang driver,” he added, saying a manhunt operation had already been launched to find the unidentified gunman.

Culandanum barangay captain Edmundo Oghayon, who was among those stunned by the incident, said he knew Kirao to be a kind person who had no enemies in his barangay.

Since Kirao had always dealt fairly with local leaders, it is also unlikely that his murder was politically motivated, he said.

“Nabigla kami, kasi si chieftain Poldo napakabait na tao. Wala po siyang naging kaalitan dito sa aming barangay. Hindi namin masasabi na related sa election kasi tapos na ang election at wala siyang sinuportahan o nag-leader sa anumang politiko. Wala ding reklamo sa kanya sa mga agaw-agawan ng lupa,” Oghayon said.

The police said that the gunman, or suspects, may have hidden themselves in a bush near the location where Kirao was murdered.

Further investigation is still being conducted as of this writing, the PPO said.

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covers the police beat and other law enforcement agencies in the province. Her interest includes traveling and photography.