By Jennifer P. Rendon
Investigation on the twin shooting incidents that rattled Iloilo City on Jan 19, 2020 took an interesting turn after ballistic examinations revealed that the bullets in both incidents may have been fired from the same guns.
Police Colonel Martin Defensor Jr., Iloilo City police director, said the new development will make it easier for them to identify the assailants.
“We just need to identify and run after the same assailants or group of suspects,” Defensor said.
Defensor earlier said that the killings of Alain Muller and Delfin Britanico seemed unrelated, as the two victims had no connections.
Muller was peppered with bullets at around 12 p.m. Sunday at Locsin Street in Barangay Cuartero, Jaro district.
Thirty minutes later, Britanico, 36, a resident of Mirasol Subdivision, Dicen Street, La Paz, was shot dead at Barangay Nabitasan, La Paz.
Nine empty shells of caliber .9mm ammunition, five empty shells of caliber .44 ammunition, and eight deformed slugs were recovered in Jaro.
In La Paz, six pieces of caliber .44 ammunition shells and three empty shells of caliber .9mm and two deformed slugs were recovered.
Police Captain Shella Mae Sangrines, Iloilo City Police Office (ICPO) spokesperson, said they were verbally informed by the Crime Laboratory that the empty shells were fired from the same guns.
“The murder is inter-connected but we can’t still say if it was planned or not,” Sangrines said.
While Muller’s death was intentional, the case of Britanico is still a puzzle.
Sangrines said Muller’s murder was planned while Britanico might be “collateral damage.”
“It’s possible that Britanico passed by the area when the gunmen killed Muller. Thinking that they were identified, they (suspects) ran after him,” she said.
Police investigators are also eyeing the possibility that Britanico was killed following a traffic altercation, as witnesses claimed to have seen the victim intensely talking to his killers shortly before he was shot.
“But we could not make any conclusive statement for now. Our investigators are doing lots of follow up to determine the killers,” she said.
Even earlier, several reports pointed out that the getaway vehicle used by Muller’s killer was similar to the vehicle used by Britanico’s alleged killers.
Police earlier said the suspects used a Mitsubishi Adventure AUV.
As this developed, Police Colonel Enrique Ancheta, chief of the PNP Regional Crime Laboratory Office (RCLO-6), said they will submit the empty shells and slugs recovered from the two incidents to their main office in Camp Crame.
Ancheta said that if the guns were licensed or subjected to ballistic tests, these are most likely to be registered with the PNP Integrated Ballistic Information System (IBIS).
Online data showed that when bullets and shell casings are shot from firearms they can leave unique marks, which, when examined by forensic scientists, can link a particular firearm to a specific crime.
Firearm examiners or technicians enter cartridge casing evidence into the IBIS. These images are correlated against the database.
Law enforcement can search against evidence from their jurisdiction, neighboring ones, and others across the country.