Laguna city councilor gunned down

A city councilor was killed while his driver was hurt in an ambush staged by still unidentified men just a few meters away from the city government office on Monday afternoon.

Superintendent Joel Pernito, city police chief, said councilor Rodrigo ‘Digo’ Casas had just left his office aboard an Isuzu Crosswind government car when they were waylaid and shot at a close range in Jubilation subdivision, Barangay (village) Zapote at around 5:10 p.m.

Casas, who sustained at least two gunshot wounds near his face, was rushed to the University of Perpetual Help System hospital but died two hours later while undergoing treatment.

His driver, Luisito Caipan, was hurt in the shooting but is out of danger.

The two gunmen escaped on a motorcycle.

“We have already established leads but we cannot disclose them right now as investigation continues,” Pernito said, however noting that politics was not the primary angle they were looking into.

Casas was on his second term as a city councilor and chaired both the cultural and the public works committees.

According to sources in the city council, who requested anonymity for fear of reprisal, Casas had passed a resolution that gave businessmen from Biñan City the priority to put up businesses at the Laguna Technopark, an industrial zone here.

“They had this association of businessmen from Biñan and imposed some sort of registration or membership,” the source said.

He said a business competitor, who was not part of the business clique, could be behind the councilor’s slay.

It was learned that Casas owned a metal scrapping business.

Interviewed separately, city councilor Gat Alatiit said the council “expresses our deep condolences to his family. We might also call for the police chief to discuss the peace and order and security in the city.”

Casas was the third local government official here killed in a year’s time, after a village chief and village treasurer in Barangay San Antonio.