SAN PABLO CITY, Laguna—The brother of former San Pablo City Mayor Vicente Amante, whose family was among those tagged by President Rodrigo Duterte last year as involved with illegal drugs, was killed in an ambush Thursday afternoon, police said.
Laguna Provincial Director Sr. Supt. Joel Pernito identified the victim as Damaso Amante, 64, married and a resident of Cardel Village in Barangay Del Remedio.
Amante was driving a white Toyota Innova with plate number WCO 502 along the provincial road of Barangay Del Remedio when he was stopped and fired upon by unidentified suspects.
He sustained multiple gunshot wounds and was declared dead on arrival in a hospital while suspects fled toward the direction of Calauan.
Former mayor Amante, the 68-year-old leader of this city’s political clan, has denied involvement in drug trafficking. A day after the President’s list that included politicians, judges, and policemen came out, Amante sought PNP Chief Director General Ronald dela Rosa to clear his name.
The ex-mayor, however, has admitted his younger brother Edwin was once a drug user, and Damaso was also a drug pusher “but they had stopped doing that over a decade ago.”
Damaso also faced illegal drug charges following police raids in 2001 and 2007, but cases filed against him were eventually dismissed. He ran for Congressman of the third district of Laguna in the 2016 elections under the Liberal Party, but lost to incumbent Rep. Marisol “Sol” C. Aragones-Sampelo.
Amante’s death was at least the second high-profile crime in Laguna this week, as a police official was arrested Tuesday following a rape complaint against him by a 24-year-old factory worker in Calamba City.
Calamba City Chief of Police Supt. Albert Tapulao identified the suspect as Inspector Aaron Cabillan, assigned to the Regional Public Safety Batallion based in Camp Vicente Lim, Laguna.
Based on the complaint of the victim, whom Tapulao identified as alias “Brenda,” she was waiting for a ride near a mall at Barangay Canlubang at 1:30 p.m. on Tuesday when the suspect suddenly stopped the car he was driving, pointed a gun at her and ordered her inside the car.
The suspect brought the factory worker to a parking lot behind a mall where the rape occurred, the victim said in her complaint. At around 12:30 a.m., a police mobile patrol passed by and checked on the parked car, which prompted the victim to shout for help.
The patrolling policemen then arrested Cabillan, who now faces the rape charges filed with the Calamba City Prosecutor’s Office, Tapulao said.