The slain employee of the Bislig City Community Environment and Natural Resources Office (CENRO) of the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) was in charge of investigating several property and forest land disputes in the area.
Joash Perigrino, special land investigator of the CENRO-Bislig was gunned down at 6:15 p.m. Thursday in Barangay Mangagoy, Bislig City in Surigao del Sur.
According to the police report, Perigrino was aboard his car and was waiting for his wife buying food when the still unidentified gunman armed with .45 caliber pistol suddenly appeared and repeatedly shot him. He died instantly.
The suspect then fled on a waiting motorcycle, heading towards the direction of Lingig town.
Investigators have yet to identify the gunman as well as establish the possible motive behind the murder.
Atty. Felix Alicer, DENR regional director in Caraga condemned the killing while Perigrino’s colleagues at the DENR sought justice.
“This is cowardly act done by the people trying to silence us in the course of our duties and responsibilities as public servant,” Alicer said in a text message to Courier.
Alicer urged authorities to promptly probe the incident and arrest those behind the attack.
“The DENR will not be cowed by this dastardly act, even as we constantly receive death threats in the course of our duties to protect and preserve our environment,” he added.
Alicer suspected that the killing of Perigrino, who was handling cases that involved property and forest land disputes might be work-related.
He, however, declined to provide details on what prompted the attack pending the results of the investigation.
The slain prober is the third government forestry worker to be killed in Caraga since 2010.
Alicer also has not ruled out possible involvement of logging syndicates in the brutal killing amid CENRO-Bislig’s intensified anti-illegal logging campaign in recent weeks.
“The CENRO in Bislig have been active in apprehensions and retrieval of several abandoned illegally–cut trees inside government timberlands,” he said. By CLC