The police arrested an elderly man at his house in Brgy. Bato, Sagay City in Negros Occidental, at about 1 a.m. yesterday, for allegedly hiring gunmen to kill a farmer on Wednesday.
Paulino Canoy Sr., 74, allegedly transacted with three gunmen for P15,000, and directed them to shoot Samuel Patricio, 53, of Brgy. Babiera, also in the city, Insp. Joevito Bose, deputy chief of Sagay Police said yesterday.
Patricio had three gunshot wounds on his head when he was found lying dead at about 7 a.m. Thursday, at his own farm in Brgy. Babiera, Bose said.
Investigation showed that three guns-for-hire shot Patricio who was working on his farm, at about 3:30 p.m. Wednesday.
A land dispute is being eyed by the police as the motive for the killing. Canoy is a beneficiary of the Comprehensive Agrarian Reform Program of the land owned by Patricio, Bose said.
He said Canoy wanted to make sure that Patricio, who was issued a Certificate of Land Ownership Award from the Department of Agrarian Reform, would not get back a portion of the land given to him.
A witness, who served as a guide for the gunmen in looking for the house of Patricio, told the police that Canoy was the one who instructed the suspects after giving them the money.
Canoy, meanwhile, said in a television interview that he knew Patricio but he did not kill him. The police had only mistaken him for someone else, he said.
Murder charges have already been filed against Canoy before the Cadiz City Regional Trial Court, Bose said.
The police already have the names of the three gunmen, but would not disclose them yet, pending their arrest.*SGG