CAGAYAN DE ORO CITY – (UPDATE, 8:02pm) City Mayor Oscar Moreno has offered a P1-million reward for anyone who can give information leading probers to the killer of educator Ricardo Rotoras, who was shot dead outside his home Saturday morning, as three senators urged authorities to do justice to the man they said had helped shape a law expanding access to higher education.
The mayor vowed to give justice to Rotoras, University of Science and Technology of the Southern Philippines (USTP) President, whom Moreno called his “friend, and a true partner in bringing Cagayan de Oro to greater heights”.
Moreno said the P1-million bounty “is for anyone who could bring any information regarding the perpetrators – – and sa mastermind. Most likely, this crime has its mastermind, because the operation was professionally done, it was out of the ordinary.”
Meanwhile, Sen. Chiz Escudero, the chairman of the Senate Committee on Education, Arts and Culture, also asked the Philippine National Police (PNP) to do their best to immediately arrest the culprits. “I urge the PNP to act swiftly on this case and exhaust all means to bring the perpetrators to justice.”
Cagayan de Oro City police, however, said they have formed a special investigation task group to look into all the possible motives for the killing and capture the suspects.
Escudero condemned the killing of Rotoras, president of the Philippine Association of State Universities and Colleges (PASUC), calling it “clearly unacceptable and enraging.”
“While I extend my deepest sympathies to the bereaved family as well as to the USTP (University of Science and Technology of Southern Philippines) community, I join the academe in mourning the death of Dr. Rotoras, whose efforts to help improve the country’s higher education system will not be forgotten. His untimely passing is a great loss not only to his family, friends and colleagues, but to the whole higher education sector as well,“ he added.
Liberal Party Senators Bam Aquino and Francis Pangilinan urged authorities to leave no stone unturned to ensure that those behind the killing are brought to justice.
As president of PASUC, Rotoras had worked closely with senators in passing the Universal Access to Quality Tertiary Education Act.
Mayor Moreno said Rotoras is a great loss to the higher education, a “local boy who made it good in the national scene”.
“Cagayan de Oro has been modeled by other cities, since it was declared that we are one of the most livable cities, and this setup was designed by the USTP, under Dr. Rotoras’ watch,” he said.
Meanwhile, the Office of Student Affairs (OSA) of USTP said faculty, students, and non-academic personnel will offer 1,000 flowers for the slain university president at the gymnasium after the flag ceremony on Monday, December 4.
Buildings inside the university will also display black cloth as a sign of bereavement. Profile pictures in Facebook accounts of members of the USTP community were also changed to black to sympathize with the Rotoras family.
Rotoras, 50, was shot dead just outside his home at about 1 am Saturday, sustaining eight gunshot wounds from a caliber .45 pistol.
Senior Inspector Mardy Hortillosa, Cagayan de Oro Police Office spokesperson said the witnesses that came forward will be of great help in their search for the killers.