Bit of Naga History — Killing of a Mayor

(This is an excerpt of a book on the history of Naga, Cebu that I am working on …)

Two rifle shots shattered the calm. Tragedy again struck Naga town.

An hour before, Santiago Emnace drank Pepsi Cola with his wife and kid at the neighborhood store before going home. Naga’s acting mayor Daniel Dacalos tended the store located beside the road in Langtad, Naga. It was already 8 o’clock that fateful evening of April 4, 1952.

The moon, about as high as the sun at 2 or 3 in the afternoon, lit up the surroundings of the wooden structure the Emnace family called home near the seashore. The sky was clear. Only the familiar beat of waves crashing throbbed.

When Emnace arrived home, he found their water jar empty. “I told my wife that I would fetch water at the artesian well,” the cement worker later told police investigators.

He could clearly recognize his compadre Ambrosio and Fredo Paunil squatting near the house of his neighbor Pedro Abella as he passed by towards the artesian well some 300 meters from his house. The brothers saw him approach carrying a can water container. Ambrosio called out and told Emnace to hurry up because no water might come out from the well.

“Compadre, water will come out if I push the artesian well up and down,” he replied. After filling up the can, he carried it on his head and went back home. He returned to the house leaving the brothers still squatting, some 10 brazas or a little over 16 meters from the well.

As he asked his wife to help him lower the can, one shot reverberated. He immediately went out of the house supposedly to answer the call of nature. Another shot rang out.

Tabang! Daniel Dacalos!” a woman cried out. The acting mayor was already sprawled on the ground. A bullet hit him on his left arm while standing at the door of his store, his back towards the road in front.

Hidden in a patch of unplanted cornfield where he squatted, Santiago Emnace could clearly see Ambrosio and Alfredo Paunil running across the plowed field towards the latter’s house nearby. Alfredo carried the caliber 30 rifle.

Dacalos was immediately brought to the Cebu Portland Cement company hospital at Barrio Tinaan, Naga. However, he died of acute hemorrhage at 5 o’clock the following morning.[1]

[1] Supreme Court en banc, G.R. No. L-9328, May 28, 1958, “People of the Philippines versus Ambrosio Paunil.

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