Abducted Agusan del Sur Mayor, Son Found Dead

A PNP Scene of the Crime Operative processes the area where the bodies of Loreto Mayor Otaza and his son were discovered by residents of Purok 2, Brgy. Bitan-agan, Butuan City.

Loreto, Agusan del Sur Mayor Dario Otaza and his son Daryl, were found dead in Butuan City Tuesday, hours after they were abducted from their home by unidentified armed men who claimed to be NBI agents.

The bodies of the two were discovered by residents in a coconut plantation in Purok 2, Barangay Bitan-agan, Butuan City around 6:45 in the morning.

The victims were hogtied and bore multiple gunshot wounds on different parts of their bodies.

According to SecurityMatters sources, initial investigation revealed that father and son were seized by 18 fully armed men posing as NBI agents who stormed the Otaza family residence in Purok 5, Barangay Baan Riverside at around 6:45 p.m. on Monday.

Sources said the suspects tied the security personnel and went from bedroom to bedroom allegedly in search of illegal drugs and firearms. They also destroyed the CCTV camera and took the DVR.

The suspects carted away two AK-47 rifles, two M4 rifles, one M16 rifle, and a cal. 45 pistol, a cal. 9mm Glock pistol, cellphones, and an undetermined amount of cash.

They fled with the Otazas in tow aboard a Hyundai Starex van with plate number KDG 179 with “tribal” markings. The vehicle was later recovered in Barangay Dulag.

Authorities believe the New People’s Army is behind the abduction and killing.

Mayor Otaza is a former NPA rebel who returned to government fold in 1986. He had been actively campaigning instrumental against communist insurgency and played a key role in the surrender of more than 150 NPA rebels during a peace caravan in Loreto last May.

Last September, he led the Agusan del Sur Provincial Tribal Council into signing a manifesto that condemned the exploitation and abuses committed by the NPA on lumads.

The Otazas belong to the Manobo tribe of Agusan.

The slain mayor was also actively involved in the national government’s Serbisyo Caravan (Service Caravan) that brings basic government services to indigenous peoples.

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