Davao City police looking at two angles in the killing of lawyer, husband

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Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, July 20) – Davao City Police chief PCol. Kirby Kraft said they are looking at two angles in the killing of Atty. Gilda Mahinay-Sapie and husband Muhaimen Muhammad Sapie outside their house at the Solariega Subdivision in Barangay Talomo on July 14.

Based on the investigation, Atty. Mahinay-Sapie was representing some settlers with land dispute cases in different areas in Mindanao.

Kraft said a member of the couple’s staff mentioned that a previous attempt on the pair’s life was made in Bukidnon last year. But the staff member was not able to identify the exact date and location of the ambush. Authorities are still validating the information.

"Hindi lang isang land dispute ito. So, nasa process of elimination kami kung alin doon ang may capability na magtrabaho sa kanya," Kraft told CNN Philippines in a phone interview.

[Translation: This is not just a land dispute case. So, we're in the process of elimination to identify who has the capability to kill them.]

The police chief said the other angle being pursued is the couple's supposed involvement in a dispute among officials of the subdivision's homeowners association.

"Allegedly, tinake-over nitong sina Atty. Mahinay-Sapie ang board of directors. May incident sila last week na tinake-over ang clubhouse. Parang ni-ransack ‘yung loob ng clubhouse," said Kraft.

[Translation: Atty. Mahinay-Sapie's group allegedly took over the board of directors. There was an incident last week where the clubhouse was taken over. It's like the clubhouse was ransacked.]

While surrounded by relatives, an alleged sniper shot Atty. Mahinay-Sapie first. Her husband was shot next when he tried to come to the aid of his wife, who was bleeding on the ground just outside their house.

Kraft said based on the testimony of those present in the crime scene, they saw a sports utility vehicle fleeing the area after the shooting incident.

Three deformed slugs were recovered from the crime scene. Ballistic tests are now on-going.

Kraft added that they have checked the houses and areas near the crime scene but did not find anything related to the crime.