Unidentified armed men shot dead a Protestant pastor, his wife, and two children in an ambush in Isulan, Sultan Kudarat, on Wednesday night, police said.

Rey Debarbo, 44, a Fundamentalist Baptist pastor; his wife Renaly, 39; and their daughters Catherine Faith, 14; and Karen, 8, all suffered multiple bullet wounds from an M16 rifle and a caliber-.45 pistol, PO1 Ernie Lagaña, investigator at the Isulan Police, said by phone.

Rey, Renaly, and Karen also suffered bullet wounds to the head while Catherine Faith’s face was grazed by a bullet, Lagaña said.

The shooting occurred around 9:10 p.m. while the Debarbos, residents of Brgy. Kalawag Dos, were passing through Leonora Homes, Brgy. Sampao, on a motorcycle.

“Nag-attend sila ng birthday party ng kaibigan nila. Nung pauwi na po sila, parang inabangan sila,” Lagaña said.

The investigator, however, said he and his team-mates know nothing more about the gunmen as people living near the crime scene were already asleep at the time of the incident, or just do not want to testify.

Wala pong mag-witness sir eh, kasi nung pumunta po kami dun, nung nagputukan na daw po, sarado na lahat ng bahay. Patay lahat ng ilaw pagdating namin,” Lagaña said.

Police have also interviewed the birthday celebrant, Adie Duran, who told them that Rey was a both a “Skylab” operator and pastor in Brgy. Ned, Lake Sebu, South Cotabato.

Inaalam pa namin ang motive sir, kasi ‘yung pastor naman po parang imposible naman na magkaroon ng kaaway ‘yun… tapos yung mga bata, wala naman ‘yung mga kamalay-malay,” Lagaña said. (John Roson)

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