May 19, 2024

As investigation continues in relation to the killing of a barangay kagawad in Bauko, Mountain Province, who was also an anti-corruption advocate, Mayor Abraham Akilit has issued a statement condemning the killing.  
“It is a first in the history of Bauko for an official to be slain in his own community and worse in his own abode – a place where danger and unrest are least expected,” Akilit said in a statement.
Akilit was referring to the shooting-to-death of Salvador Liked of Barangay Balintaugan and secretary-general of Citizen Crime Watch- Cordillera.
The 44-year-old Liked sustained gunshot wounds on his back and nape resulting in his death on the evening of Sept. 2 in front of his residence. 
Akilit said Liked would be remembered for his strong personality and active participation in anti-corruption advocacies in the government.
“He was feared by many who had something to hide. His name will ring as a reminder for all that public service is public trust,” he said. 
Liked and the Citizen Crime Watch have filed several complaints against government officials and employees of Mountain Province before the Office of the Ombudsman and Commission on Audit.
Akilit said the officialdom of Bauko is also saddened by the fact that Liked will not see the completion of the Saint Martin Anglican Church where he was actively involved in raising funds for its construction.
But Akilit said the officialdom of Bauko believes Liked’s death will not be in vain.
“We express our heartfelt condolences to the bereaved family and to the community of Barangay Balintaugan whom the honorable Liked served with passion and dedication. We are together with you in finding the truth of his death,” he said.
Akilit called on anyone who has knowledge of his death to cooperate with authorities for the immediate resolution of the crime.
“The longer that no one speaks, the harder it gets for the family to find peace and the longer it will be for the community to live in fear,” he said.
As a kagawad, Liked was instrumental in requesting the national government to allot funds for the construction of the P20 million Balintaugan barangay hall, which was forwarded to Interior and Local Government Sec. Eduardo Año for his action.
On the other hand, the Leonardo Pacsi Command (LPC) of the New People’s Army-Mountain Province has painted a different perception of Liked.
“The death of Salvador G. Liked ended his land grabbing and blackmailing, victimizing our kakailian in Mountain Province,” the statement sent to media outlets via email last Sept. 9, stated.
NPA-Mountain Province Spokesperson Ka Magno Udyaw said their group received reports of Liked “and his cohorts in the bureaucracy,” involved in land grabbing in areas between Bauko and Sagada.
“Liked put up an anti-corruption stance as he delved into purportedly anomalous deals and practices. However, his sincerity towards combating bureaucratic corruption and government ineptitude had been questionable, given that he chose to enter into settlements and even resorted to blackmailing and anti-social activities, instead of pursuing those cases. He made use of his educational background, skills, and connections to further his own interests,” Udyaw said.
Udyaw added the LPC reached out to Liked in 2018 to warn him of his alleged land grabbing schemes and advised him to sincerely pursue the graft and corruption cases he had filed in order to convict abusive officials in government.
The Police Regional Office-Cordillera is yet to release a report on the follow-up investigation being conducted by a task group formed to probe Liked’s killing. – Ofelia C. Empian