Wednesday, December 7, 2011

PIGCAWAYAN, North Cotabato — A former village watchman killed a bus conductor and a driver and took the rest of the passengers as hostage in a national highway here Monday night.

Cotabato Police Provincial chief Cornelio Salinas identified the suspect as Melco Lavenia, 46, of Barangay Poblacion 3 in Midsayap, North Cotabato.

The victims were Rogelio Valdeviezo, driver, and Adam Fail Ibrahim, bus conductor.

Pigcawayan police chief Donaldo Cabigas said a long-standing feud between the suspect and the bus conductor was believed to be the reason for the incident.

“The motive was personal grudge, it was not a case of hold-up,” Cabigas said.

Salinas said Lavenia boarded Eric 25 Weena bus (MVV-364) just outside the terminal in Barangay Poblacion, Pigcawayan.

Witnesses said the suspect boarded the bus at 6:45 p.m. and sat at the back portion of the vehicle with about a dozen passengers.

Lavenia later pulled out a .45 caliber pistol and allegedly shot Ibrahim. Valdeviezo saw what happened and tried to help Ibrahim but was also shot.

Valdeviezo and Ibrahim died on the spot.

The bus crashed by the roadside, which caught the attention of some armed civilians, who rushed to the bus and surrounded it. The Pigcawayan police and some members of the Philippine Army were called to the scene.

Lavenia grabbed three passengers, held them hostage and showed his gun and a grenade, as he exited from the bus. He later agreed to surrender and release his three hostages after a negotiation and when a friend only identified as Pempengco and members of the media arrived.

Lavenia said his motive was to get back at the bus conductor who allegedly humiliated him for not paying fare some days back.

The suspect is now detained while police are preparing a criminal case against him. (Edgardo Fuerzas of Sun.Star Davao/Sunnex)

Published in the Sun.Star Davao newspaper on December 07, 2011.


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