>MANILA, Philippines – A ranking official of the Bureau of Internal Revenue was shot dead by two motorcycle-riding suspects yesterday in Antipolo City.
Marcelino Yap, 46, revenue district officer of BIR’s District 45 was reporting for work when he was gunned down in front of L and M Grill and Restobar near the BIR office located along Marcos Highway in Barangay Mayamot when he was shot dead by one of the gunmen at about 8:45 a.m.
When Yap fell to the ground bleeding, the suspects calmly boarded a waiting Honda Bajaj motorcycle with no license plate and sped off toward the Masinag Junction.
Upon receipt of the ambush report, Senior Superintendent Manuel Prieto, Rizal police provincial director, ordered the setting up of checkpoint operations in all entry and exit points of Antipolo City but failed to intercept the suspects.
Prieto said Yap was walking toward the BIR building when one of the suspects approached him and opened fire at close range.
Yap sustained five gunshot wounds in different parts of the body and died on the spot.
Witnesses identified the gunman as wearing a white shirt, and maong pants, 5”7” in height, and between 30 to 40 years old.
Responding Scene of the Crime Operatives (SOCO) recovered at least four spent shells and slugs of a .45 caliber pistol at the crime scene.
Yap’s wife and relatives rushed to the scene but they refused to talk to newsmen, as they appeared to be in a state of shock.
Police said Yap was formerly assigned in Mindanao and was transferred recently to head the BIR District 45 which covers the areas of Marikina City, Antipolo City, San Mateo and Rodriguez towns in Rizal.
At the time of his death, Yap was personally checking records of payments on their BIR file.
Police investigators are closely coordinating with Yap’s family to determine whether he received death threats prior to his death.
The getaway motorcycle was recovered abandoned hours later by the Antipolo City police along Barangay Masinag.
Moreover, BIR Commissioner Kim Henares said the agency would continue its fight against tax evaders and would not be cowed by the death of BIR Antipolo City revenue district officer.
Henares nonetheless believes the incident is an isolated one, adding that she was not aware of threats against Yap or any controversial or big-ticket taxpayer that Yap’s office was investigating.
“We just make sure we would be more vigilant and extra careful,” Henares said.
Finance Secretay Cesar Purisima, for his part, called on the police to get to the bottom of the incident.
“I urged the police to get to the bottom of this, so we can bring the perpetrators to justice. There is no tolerance for this in the Aquino administration,” Purisma said.
Since July last year, the BIR and the Bureau of Customs (BOC) have been filing before the Department of Justice cases against tax evaders and smugglers every other week. – With Iris Gonzales – By Non Alquitran