By Ben Rosario
As calls to declare Quezon City an election “hotspot”, police probers looking into the murder of Second District congressional aspirant and Barangay Silangan chairwoman Crisel “Beng” Beltran are also considering personal grudge and land dispute as possible motives of the killing.
Running against Beltran in the congressional race are Councilor Precious Hipolito-Castelo, and former Reps. Annie Susano and Dante Liban.
Apparently supporting the theory that politics is behind the killing, Liban urged the Commission on Elections to declare QC an election hotspot.
Beltran, 40, and her driver, Melchor Salita, were killed by four motorcycle riding gunmen in Barangay Bagong Silangan Thursday morning.
IN a statement, Akbayan Partylist Rep. Tom Villarin said the murder of Beltran “falls as another high profile election-related violence.”
“It is highly disturbing that such act was done in broad daylight by motorcycle riding killers and lookouts akin to the Batocabe murders in Daraga, Albay. We are seeing here a pattern of cold-blooded killers who are not afraid of the law nor of authorities,” said Villarin.
He was referring to the assassination last December 22 of Ako Bicol Partylist Rep. Rodel Batocabe, a mayoralty candidate in Daraga. Police have tagged Daraga Mayor Carlwin Baldo and six of his cohorts as the culprits.
Reports reaching the House of Representatives indicated that compared to the three other congressional bets, Beltran’s chances of winning is not strong.
Police sources said probers are not zeroing in on politics as motive of the killings. They are also looking into the possibility that a personal grudge and land controversies affecting her barangay constituents may be involved.
The Quezon City government has offered a P3 million reward for information that will lead to the identification and arrest of suspects behind the Beltran-Salita murders.
QC mayoralty candidate Rep. Vincent Crisologo, Castelo and Liban, issued statements strongly condemning the killing of Beltran.
Crisologo, who heads QC’s PDP-Laban ticket, said Beltran is a strong bet for District 2 congressional post.
“I condemn in the strongest possible terms the killing of a friend. I hope that justice will be served swiftly for her and for others who perished,” said Castelo in a press statement.
Castelo, chairman of the House Committee on Metro Manila Development, said he was witness to Beltran”s “dedication to public service.”
On the other hand, Liban appealed to President Rodgrigo Duterte to use the full force of the law to arrest the perpetrators of the crime.