Laguna Board Member, Aide Killed In Ambush

SAN PABLO CITY, Laguna — Laguna 3rd District Board Member Reynaldo Paras died yesterday, hours after being ambushed by four suspected hired killers in Barangay 7-C, here, Wednesday night, police said. His driver-bodyguard was killed in the attack.

Superintendent Ferdinand De Castro, San Pablo City police chief said Paras, 55, a retired police sergeant, and resident of Barangay San Roques, this city, had undergone surgery to dislodge bullets in his body at the San Pablo City Medical Center.

He did not last long after the operation and was pronounced dead by the doctors around 3 p.m. Thursday. His driver-bodyguard Giovanni Dumaraos, 44, was taken to the Pagamutang Panlalawigan ng Laguna (PPL) hospital immediately after the ambush but was declared dead-on-arrival.

De Castro said the victims had just alighted from their vehicle and were about to buy bread at a store on Bonifacio Street, Barangay 7-C, when they were approached and shot repeatedly by four gunmen at 8:20 p.m. Wednesday. Paras and Dumaraos were able to return fire, hitting two of the four assailants.

One of the wounded gunmen was arrested by responding police and identified him later as Eugene Bacoto, 25, of San Luis 1, Dasmariñas, Cavite. He is now confined at PPL hospital under tight security. The three suspects fled the scene on a motorcycle, which was later found abandoned on the boundary of San Pablo City and Alaminos.

A .45-caliber pistol owned by Bacoto; a .357 revolver; and Magnum .44 owned by one of the victims were found by investigators at the scene.

De Castro said Bacoto refused to disclose who ordered he attack on Paras. Probers said they are not discounting the possibility that politics or personal grudge was the motive in the killing. Paras, chairman of the provincial peace and order council, was serving his second term as board member at the time of his death.

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