Dante B. Untalan was brutally killed by two unidentified suspects riding
in tandem in a "white" motorcycle
March 19, at around
11:45am in Cacaritan San Carlos City on his way to office from a hearing in Urbiztondo town.
Dante Untalan, 59, a native of Villasis town but residing in Barangay Malibong, Urbiztondo, worked as a lawyer at Public Attorney’s Office
(PAO). He was going
to the Justice Hall Building in Barangay Pagal aboard a for-hire tricycle when the
The victim was
reported to have just
attended a court hearing
in Urbiztondo town when he was
fired upon by one of two unidentified men riding on the motorcycle tailing the tricycle from behind.
It was learned
that although chief of PAO in San Carlos City, Untalan
does not own a car
and take public means
of transport to and from his
Untalan, who was the lone passenger of the motorized
tricycle, driven by one Kim Peter Marquez, 21,
of Barangay Payar,
San Carlos, sprawled in the side
car of the tricycle and bathed in a pool of his own blood.
The victim suffered
10 gunshot wounds in different parts of his
body, nine of which found their mark in the victim’s back and one on the head.
He died on the spot but despite this, responding policemen still rushed him to the Virgen Milagrosa University Foundation Hospital where he was pronounced
dead on arrival by attending physician.
Investigators said the gunmen, who were wearing black jackets,
used a cal. 45 pistol
as evidenced by several
empty shells and slugs found at the crime scene.
Politics was immediately suspected as
the possible motive of the killing as they theorized the killing could be the work of guns-for-hire.
However, it was learned that although Untalan is not a politician, his wife is an incumbent barangay chairman
in Urbiztondo town
and is reportedly
running for mayor.
It was learned
that the family of
the victim was reported more inclined to believe that the killing could be work-related
as Untalan is defending poor litigants enmeshed in possible land dispute with
opulent local landlords.
Lawyers in Pangasinan
the incident and called for a swift investigation in order
to bring the perpetrators
and the mastermind before
the bar of justice.
They said the killing of Untalan could have been at least avoided had the Commission
on Elections granted the petition
of PAO lawyers for exemption from the gun ban in this election.
Some observers believe that the lawyer from Brgy. Malibong Urbiztondo was being followed from the previous hearing he has attended in Urbiztondo. Since he is fond of commuting on his way to his office in San Carlos, they
waited for a place where
there will be no or very few witnesses.
From Roxas Street to the Ednas
Shool, he was allegedly monitored. Police recovered
two empty slugs along the road which was believed to be the first two shots but failed. Then in Cacaritan, when the suspects
were able to close up from
behind, the gunman shot Atty. Untalan.
His shots were grouped, mostly at the back but were fatal enough to ensure his death and most of the bullets exited his body leaving back and
Police officers have yet
to determine the motive for his
killing which either have to do with his work or if it was politically
related because the lawyer is a known staunch supporter of
former Mayor Abelardo
Arambulo in Urbiztondo.
Investigators are also
looking for a possible link
of Untalan's killing
to the murder of a school
principal in Urbiztondo who
was shot to death in Basista town.
Colleagues from the
Public Attorneys Office in San Carlos and the entire
Region 1 are beleaguered
for losing one good lawyer,
condemned such act and are crying for
justice for Atty. Dante B. Untalan.
Bautista, national president of the Integrated Bar of the Philippines, who is a former
mayor of Santa Barbara, called
for an immediate resolution
to the killing of Untalan.
Bautista also rallied
his fellow lawyers to come together
and denounce the grisly
incident that befell
on a member of the bar in Pangasinan