Ex-lawmaker blames gov for violence in Nueva Ecija

Manny Galvez (The Philippine Star) - July 30, 2015 - 10:00am

JAEN, Nueva Ecija, Philippines – A former congressman has decried what he described as an upsurge of politically motivated murders and violence in the province whose victims, he said, are opponents of outgoing Gov. Aurelio Umali.

Former fourth district representative Rodolfo Antonino said yesterday at least 15 shootings have occurred in the province over the past several months, killing at least nine persons, mostly his allies and political leaders.  

Antonino is running for governor against Umali’s wife, outgoing third district Rep. Czarina Umali, in 2016.

Antonino, father of fourth district Rep. Magnolia Antonino, said the string of political killings started shortly after the May 2013 elections and escalated in recent months. He said five officials have been gunned down this year.

Among the victims of 15 shootings were barangay chairmen, three municipal councilors, a municipal accountant and a village councilor.

These incidents, he said, occurred in the cities of Gapan and Cabanatuan and in the municipalities of Aliaga, Cabiao, Llanera, Peñaranda, San Antonio, San Leonardo and this town.

He identified the fatalities as village officials Romeo Linsangan and Mario Trillana and municipal accountant Noel Gamboa, all of Cabiao; Nick Apan of Llanera; Rodrigo Miranda of Aliaga; Rodante Garcia and Antonio de Sahagun of San Leonardo; Herminigildo Eduardo of Jaen and Roger Pascual of Cabanatuan City.

“There is a disturbing pattern of murders and we are witnessing here the unfolding of a political reign of terror in our midst,” he said.

Antonino said gun and grenade attacks were also carried out against his other allies, whom he said were known enemies of the governor.

Among those who were lucky to survive were Linsangan’s successor Rogelio Cunanan, Gapan Councilor Danilo de Guzman, San Antonio municipal coordinator Erlinda Reyes, Arsenio Santos of Jaen and Councilors Armando Abiog and Wilfredo Abesamis of Peñaranda.

Antonino said Cunanan has transferred to the camp of Umali, possibly fearing a reprisal.

He said the attacks against Abiog and Abesamis occurred after they bolted the camp of Umali’s ally, Mayor Ferdinand Abesamis, to join Vice Mayor Fermin Francisco, who is preparing to challenge the mayor’s reelection bid.

Antonino urged authorities to look into these incidents.

ABIOG AND ABESAMIS ANTONINO ARSENIO SANTOS OF JAEN AND COUNCILORS ARMANDO ABIOG AND WILFREDO ABESAMIS OF PE ATILDE AURELIO UMALI CABIAO CZARINA UMALI ERLINDA REYES GAPAN AND CABANATUAN SAN ANTONIO UMALI
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