Five men allegedly involved in criminal activities were found dead after being hacked and shot by still unidentified assailants in Bugallon, Pangasinan, early Saturday, police said.

Romel, 38, Jomer, 17, Ronald, 34, Ernesto, 49 – all surnamed Ramoran – and Albert Martinez, 25, were found dead inside a shanty beside the Grand Royale Subdivision in Brgy. Poblacion, Senior Insp. Ryan Manongdo, Pangasinan provincial police spokesman, said.

The five, all natives of Sual, were eating around 12:30 a.m. when they were killed by about 10 armed and bonnet-wearing men, Manongdo said.

Investigation indicated that the armed men first held the five at gunpoint, tied up the hands and feet of Jomer and Albert with plastic straps, then hacked the duo’s heads with a bladed instrument, he said.

“When Rommel, Ernesto, and Ronald attempted to fight back, they were shot on the different parts of the body. As a consequence, all victims died on the spot,” Manongdo said in a text message.

Responding policemen found 16 empty shells and five slugs of caliber-.45 pistols and 14 plastic straps at the scene. A fan knife and a cellphone were recovered from Rommel and Albert’s bodies, respectively.

Investigators are looking at a possibility that the killings are related to the victims’ alleged involvement in criminal activities.

Information gathered from the area indicated that the five were engaged in robbery (akyat-bahay), cattle rustling, and theft, Manongdo said.

It was also learned that Rommel had been convicted for a case of robbery with acts of lasciviousness but was granted parole last April, the provincial police spokesman added.

Members of the Bugallon Police are still conducting an “in-depth investigation” to determine the assailants’ identities, he said. (John Roson)

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