Land dispute eyed as motive behind lawyer's slay in Bukidnon

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Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, July 30) — Police investigators are looking into a land dispute as the possible motive behind the killing of a lawyer in Valencia City, Bukidnon over the weekend.

Nicolas Gomez Jr., 67, was walking past a bakery Sunday evening when two motorcyle-riding men shot him.

Gomez sustained multiple gundshots to his body. He was brought to the nearest hospital, but was declared dead on arrival.

Four shell casings from fired cartridges and one casing of a fired .45 caliber bullet were recovered from the crime scene. The victim's cellphone, IDs, ATM cards, and vehicle, a Ford F150 truck, were also recovered.

Initial investigation found that Gomez was supposed to attend a hearing on land cases in Malaybalay City, the province's capital, Monday.

"The killing was very likely motivated by land conflict," Valencia City Police chief Lieutenant Colonel Surki Serenas said.

"Gi rule out na work related kaya wala naman siya mga client. Duha ka land dispute ginasilip in Maramag and Valencia, siya ang complainant," he added.

[Translation: The possibility that it might be work related was ruled out, since he has no clients. He had two land disuptes in Maramag and Valencia, where he was the complainant.]

Serenas said police have identified the gunmen, but he did not dislose their identities.

"We have narrowed down our investigation to very few persons of interest and their cohorts," he said.

Serenas said investigators have already gathered video footage from security cameras, testimonies from eyewitnesses, as well as circumstantial and physical evidence that can be used in the filing of charges.

"We are just ascertaining that we have an airtight case against the principal suspects and cohorts," he said.

Cagayan-based journalist Alwen Saliring and Bukidnon-based journalist Melchor Velez contributed to this report.