By Jel Santos
A barangay chairman, who hired former drug personalities as village watchmen, was gunned down while he was inside the billiards hall of his son in Mandaluyong City on Monday night.
Senior Supt. Juaquin Alva identified the victim as Godofredo “Goody” Tolentino, 63, Barangay Poblacion chairman. Aside from being Barangay Poblacion’s chairman, he was also the vice president of Mandaluyong’s Association of Barangay Captains.
The barangay chairman, according to reports, was attacked by a still unidentified man inside a billiards hall on Reyes St. in Barangay Poblacion around 6 p.m.
Witnesses said that the gunman shot Godofredo in the head thrice from behind. The gunman was reportedly wearing denim pants, black jacket, and a cap.
Out of fear, other people playing at the billiards hall scampered after hearing the gunshots, Alva said.
The gunman, probers said, pointed gun at the people who ducked under the billiards table so that they will not follow or attack him.
The son of the chairman, who owns the place, was not at the billiards hall that day, reports said.
Police said there were around 15 people inside the billiards hall when the incident happened.
The gunman rode a motorcycle parked near the billiards hall after the shooting incident. On a closed-circuit television (CCTV) footage, it was seen that the gunman has a cohort who served as a lookout and driver.
The motorcycle-riding men fled towards sped off towards Aglipay St. in the said village, probers said.
The gunman, as recorded on the CCTV video, was firing shots to the ground to make swift their escape.
Godofredo was rushed to the Mandaluyong Medical Center, but was declared dead on arrival.
The Mandaluyong police chief said the barangay captain was very cooperative in their anti-illegal drugs drive. He also said that Godofredo has no involvement to illegal drugs.
“He was very active in our anti-illegal drugs drive. No, he is not on any drug watch-list,” Alva told the Manila Bulletin in an interview.
He said that they are eyeing politics above all as the motive of the chairman’s death, but “not illegal drugs.”
‘Drug personalities can change’
Mercedita Tolentino, 62, wife of the barangay captain, said that her husband believes that drug personalities can change. She said her husband helped many drug personalities in their village to fight drug addiction.
“My husband believes that drug personalities can change that was why he hired some of them. He hates illegal drugs, but he knows that the people hooked to it are just victims,” she said in Filipino as her eyes turned red. “He has helped many people in our village. “
Gloria Bangaysiso, a barangay employee, said the slain chairman has employed many former drug personalities in their village to give them a chance to live a drug–free life.
“Sir Godofredo wants to give drug personalities a chance for he believes that they can change. He gets mad whenever he learns that one of his constituents involved in drugs were killed by masked men,” she said.
Police Officer 3 Leonard Almerol, Poblacion’s police team captain, said that there are around 120 drug personalities who surrendered in Barangay Poblacion.
Suspicious men roving
Days before Godofredo’s death, “suspicious-looking” men were spotted near his house by a barangay employee.
Maria Victoria Pacheco, a barangay street sweeper, said on Friday (October 6) she saw a white car without a plate number near the house of their chairman, saying two men were aboard the car.
On Saturday (October 7), the men were seen again by the street sweeper. The men, at that time, were no longer aboard the white car — they were rather riding a motorcycle.
She said one of the men was stout, which somewhat fits the description of the gunman caught on a CCTV video of Barangay Poblacion.
Pacheco said she reported such to Godofredo, but he said he has no enemy so he has nothing to worry.
Alvas said that Task Force “Goody” was formed to thoroughly probe the death of the chairman.