One person killed in ambush of former Pangasinan governor

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Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, September 11) — The bodyguard of a former Pangasinan governor and congressman was killed in an ambush on Wednesday.

Speaking at a press briefing Wednesday evening, acting Pangasinan PNP Provincial Director Redrico Maranan said, Staff Sgt. Richard Esguerra died after unknown gunmen fired at two vehicles carrying former Pangasinan governor and Pangasinan 5th District Representative Amado Espino Jr. and five bodyguards.

"Initial investigation disclosed that former congressman Espino was onboard a Toyota Land Cruiser SUV with plate number AAS 8236 with his driver Agapito Cuizon and Jayson Malsi, and his backup security onboard a black Toyota Innova with conduction sticker number A3A913 driven by one Anthony Columbino, with companions police Staff Sgt. Richard Esguerra and Kevin Marfori," Maranan said.

He added they were verifying reports that a member of Maranan's group is missing.

He added Espino's party was headed toward Barangay Ilang in San Carlos City, Pangasinan when they were fired upon by heavily armed suspects.

After the incident, the assailants escaped separately on board two vehicles in the direction of Malasiqui.

Esguerra sustained multiple gunshot wounds and died on the spot.

Espino and his other companions were injured and brought to the Blessed Family Doctors General Hospital in San Carlos City.

Maranan said they sent out a flash alarm of the incident to police stations so that checkpoints could be set up, as well as manhunt operations.

Espino's condition is now stable, Maranan disclosed. He said Maranan's four companions were still being treated in the hospital at the time of the press conference.

READ: Ex-Pangasinan congressman now in stable condition after ambush

Maranan said all police units in Pangasinan, including the Criminal Investigation and Detection Group (CIDG), and Scene of the Crime Operatives (SOCO) have been called to investigate.

The vehicle used by the suspects, a Ford Everest and a Hyundai Elantra, have been recovered. Several long firearms were recovered from the vehicles. Maranan said they were waiting for the SOCO to complete their investigation, to know more details about the firearms.

He said they have not confirmed whether there was a firefight between Espino's group and the suspects. Maranan added they have not interviewed anyone from Espino's group because they did not want to get in the way of their medical treatment.

Authorities said they have no leads yet on who the suspects might be, but they are looking at CCTV footage to get more information.