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Police obtain leads on mastermind in Alameda killing —Azurin

Police have obtained information on the possible mastermind behind the killing of Aparri, Cagayan Vice Mayor Rommel Alameda and five others, Philippine National Police (PNP) chief Police General Rodolfo Azurin Jr. said Monday.

“Investigators have uncovered substantial leads that could establish the possible motive and possible mastermind behind the attack... It has [been] revealed that threats had been made upon Vice Mayor Alameda that point to business rivalry as one of the possible motive,” he said at a press conference.

According to Azurin, the police are looking into the possible connection between Alameda’s killing and his opposition to black sand mining business in their area.

“Business rivalry in the sense na meron kasi doong ongoing na black sand mining. Yun yung matagal nang issue dyan sa Cagayan na kung saan itong mga black sand na ito ay binibenta sa mga Chinese. Vice Mayor Alameda had been against sa negosyo na yun,” he said.

(Business rivalry in the sense that there is an ongoing black sand mining there. That has been an issue in Cagayan for so long, where the black sand is being sold to Chinese businessmen. Alameda had been against that business.)

Azurin said some persons of interest have already been identified.

Alameda and five others were killed when their van was ambushed by gunmen in Bagabag, Nueva Vizcaya on February 19.

Also killed in the ambush were Alexander Agustin Delos Angeles, Alvin Dela Cruz Abel, Abraham Dela Cruz Ramos, John Duane Banag Almeda, and Ismael Nanay.

The victims were aboard a Starex van on the way to Manila when they were gunned down by the suspects.

On February 20, the getaway vehicle used in the ambush was found burned in Solano town.

The PNP said the owner of the getaway vehicle had been identified but the police were still tracking the previous owners of the getaway vehicle or its "car history". —VAL, GMA Integrated News