Infanta mayor hurt in ambush, to be airlifted to Manila

Infanta mayor hurt in ambush, to be airlifted to Manila
Photo dated February 27, 2022 shows local police from Infanta, Quezon gathering spent shell casings from the area where the municipality's mayor was ambushed and shot earlier that day.
Photo from Melchor Luza

MANILA, Philippines (Updated 4:25 p.m.) — The local government of Infanta, Quezon on Sunday called on citizens to assist with the investigation into the shooting of Mayor Filipina Grace America in an ambush.

"The local government of Infanta, Quezon strongly condemns this violence. We encourage concerned citizens who have seen the incident to cooperate with our police to arrest the perpetrator of this crime," a post on America's official Facebook page reads.

What happened: According to Police SMSgt Severino Leopardo of the Infanta police station, America, 50,was on her way home from church when her black SUV was waylaid by still unidentified gunmen at the corner of Zamora and Rizal Streets in Poblacion Uno around 11:15 am

She sustained gunshot wounds in different parts of her body and was rushed to a nearby hospital. 

Quezon Gov. Danilo Suarez told reporters that America will be airlifted to a hospital in Manila. 

Police also disclosed that they recovered seven spent shells, though they have yet to determine the motive behind the attack.

Why does this matter?: America was running for re-election as mayor of Infanta in the 2022 polls under the Nacionalista Party.

The mayor and the Infanta local government were also among those who were vocal in their opposition to the construction of the Kaliwa Dam, which will submerge parts of Quezon and Rizal provinces. They have also warned that people residing near the dam would be in danger in case of earthquakes.

Locals in the area have long opposed the project due to its potential impact on the environment and the community's livelihoods. 

Indigenous Dumagat-Remontado communities had opposed construction of the dam on their ancestral domain, although project proponent Metropolitan Manila Waterworks and Sewerage System has managed to negotiate a Memorandum of Agreement for the project. Critics of the project maintain that consultation on the MOA was done selectively.

What happens now: Local police said they were pursuing the gunmen. No updates on America's condition have been released. Philstar.com reached out to Infanta town police for updates; this story will be updated with their response. 

Infanta Vice Mayor Lord Allan Ruanto, also condemned the shooting in a post on Facebook. "Violence has no place in our peaceful town! We condemn this! Let us be united! Exert all our efforts to find the perpetrator," he wrote.

America's official Facebook page said an official statement with more details would be released in the coming days.

— Franco Luna with The STAR/Arnell Ozaeta

This is a developing story. Check back for updates.



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