Ambushed bet wants Abra private armies dismantled
- Non Alquitran () - April 18, 2010 - 12:00am

MANILA, Philippines - A mayoral candidate who survived an ambush try in Abra last Sunday has called for sobriety, as he urged his chief rival and fellow politicians to campaign together to preserve the peaceful atmosphere in the province in the May elections.

Ryan Luna also threw his full support to the call of another politician, Joy Bernos, for the dismantling of private armies in Abra to prevent the outbreak of violence among their supporters.

By campaigning together, Luna, a mayoral bet in Bangued, Abra’s capital town, said police have no need to deploy a big number of personnel as bodyguards of politicians.

“We should campaign jointly and move from one place to another in just one convoy,” said Luna, adding that doing so would remove doubts among each other.

Luna, son of Abra Rep. Cecille Luna, is seeking the mayoral post of Bangued against incumbent Mayor Dominic Valera.

The four-vehicle convoy of the younger Luna was on its way to Bangued after campaigning in a barangay when fired upon last Sunday.

Chief Superintendent Villamor Bumanlag, Cordillera police director, said Luna escaped unscathed but his two supporters were hurt.

According to Bumanlag, they have yet no witnesses to the ambush try and police investigators are still clueless on the incident.

The ambush try prompted Bumanlag and Bishop Leopoldo Jaucian of the Archdiocese of Abra to call for an urgent meeting among local politicians last Monday to get their commitment to peaceful and orderly elections in the province.

Bumanlag said there is still no word from Valera, who failed to attend the meeting, but the attendees were amenable to Luna’s suggestion.

Luna failed to say who could be behind the attempt on his life.

Bumanlag said he ordered intensified checkpoint operations to intercept armed groups from entering and exiting the province and prevent another ambuscade.

At least 27 people were killed in Abra in the 2007 elections due to ambuscades.

Bumanlag and his counterparts from the military and the Commission on Elections (Comelec) will meet this coming week to fine-tune their preparations for the May polls.

Meanwhile, Bernos called on the Philippine National Police (PNP) to dismantle private armies in Abra following a gun-toting incident involving her sister and Luna’s brother, Jendrick, a mayor of an Abra town.

The PNP said there is still no election-related violent incident in Abra despite the tension brought about by the slay try on Luna.

ABRA ABRA REP BANGUED BUMANLAG BUMANLAG AND BISHOP LEOPOLDO JAUCIAN OF THE ARCHDIOCESE OF ABRA CECILLE LUNA CHIEF SUPERINTENDENT VILLAMOR BUMANLAG JOY BERNOS LUNA MAYOR DOMINIC VALERA PHILIPPINE NATIONAL POLICE
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