Armed men shot to death a judge in Ilog, Negros Occidental, Tuesday night in what investigators believe was a “work-related” attack, a police spokesman said.

Judge Henry Arles, of the Kabankalan City Regional Trial Court Branch 61, succumbed to bullet wounds to different parts of the body.

“The victim was already dead when brought by bystanders to the Southern Negros Doctors Hospital in Kabankalan City due to numerous gunshot wounds,” Chief Insp. Rico Santotome Jr., Negros Occidental Provincial Police spokesman, said.

The ambush occurred around 6:45 p.m. while Arles was driving his Nissan Sentra sedan along the National Highway in Brgy. Manalad.

Arles was heading towards the south when unidentified men on a tricycle opened fire at his vehicle, Santotome said.

Three empty shells and a slug of a caliber-.45 pistol from the crime scene while Arles’ caliber-.40 gun was found inside his vehicle.

Citing initial results of investigation, Santotome said the incident, the first murder of a judiciary in the province, appears to have been planned and “work-related.”

“Dun sa area niya (Arles) sa sixth district, marami siyang na-hand down na decision na probably ay hindi nagustuhan ng mga accused,” Santotome said in a phone interview.

“Marami sa cases na nahawakan niya (Arles) ay related sa illegal drugs at loose firearms,” he said, noting that the assailants’ “unusual” use of a tricycle indicate that the killing was planned.

Meanwhile, Santotome revealed that Arles approached Negros Occidental Provincial Police director Senior Supt. Allan Guisihan three months ago to ask for a permit to carry firearms.

“Hindi niya (Arles) nasabi kung may threat sa kanya or what kind of threat, but he was issued a permit to transfer firearms. Mayroon siyang baril noong i-ambush pero hindi na niya nagamit,” Santotome said.

Guisihan formed a special investigation task group composed of ranking members of the provincial police to conduct a deeper probe into the incident. (John Roson)

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