Enrile’s convoy attacked
(The Philippine Star) - March 20, 2013 - 12:00am

TAGUM, Davao del Sur, Philippines – Unidentified gunmen strafed the convoy of opposition senatorial candidate Jack Enrile in Compostela Valley yesterday, hitting a police vehicle.

No one was hurt in the attack, initially attributed to New People’s Army (NPA) rebels. Probers are still trying to determine if it was an ambush targeting Enrile, a Cagayan congressman and only son and namesake of Senate President Juan Ponce Enrile.

The Cagayan congressman, a candidate of the United National Alliance (UNA), said yesterday that the marked police car provided by the Compostela Valley Public Safety Unit was part of his eight-vehicle convoy when the attack was staged as they were negotiating a stretch of Warap, Nabunturan on their way back to Tagum City from Monkayo at past 3 p.m.

A bullet struck the front passenger side of the police pick-up vehicle.

“I distinctly heard two shots and we hunkered down. My windows were open and I was resting and drinking water. Our vehicle was two to three vehicles away from the police pick-up,” Enrile said.

He heard a burst of automatic gunfire, which came from his police escorts.

The convoy did not stop, but they all conducted a headcount and checked if anyone was wounded.

“We did not stop. I’m still alive and kicking and thank God no one was hurt. There was an exchange of gunfire. The trajectory was from above. I believe that the target was the police escort,” Enrile said.

The Cagayan congressman said the attack was “exciting and unexpected.” His campaign will proceed to Mati, Davao this week, with more security precautions.

“We are not afraid. For us this is just part of the job... we expect some excitement once in a while,” he said. “I don’t think I was singled out as a target. I don’t think I am much of a high-value target.”

Southern Mindanao regional police director Jaime Morente said the target of the attack could have been the police escort.

“It could be that they tried to fire at the police car because there is now an ongoing military and police operation against those who kidnapped a policeman in the nearby town of Nabunturan last Monday,” Morente said.

The attack elicited comparisons to the ambush on the Senate President’s convoy when he was the defense secretary of President Ferdinand Marcos in 1972. The ambush was used by Marcos as a pretext for declaring martial law.

During the people power revolution in 1986, then defense chief Enrile said the ambush was staged to create a scenario for martial law.

In his memoirs last year and in subsequent statements, however, he said the ambush was real. - With Cecille Suerte Felipe

COMPOSTELA VALLEY COMPOSTELA VALLEY PUBLIC SAFETY UNIT ENRILE JACK ENRILE JAIME MORENTE NABUNTURAN NEW PEOPLE POLICE PRESIDENT FERDINAND MARCOS SENATE PRESIDENT
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