Ilocos Sur mayoral bets’ supporters clash; 4 dead

Artemio Dumlao - The Philippine Star

BAGUIO CITY, Philippines — Four supporters of rival candidates for mayor in Magsingal, Ilocos Sur were killed and four others were wounded  in a shootout yesterday.

The fatalities were identified as Lerry Pol Torda, 41; Recto Bagani, 65; retired soldier Jovito Tumaneng, 61, and former militiaman William Bulil-it.

Bullet shells for an M16 rifle were reportedly recovered at the scene.

Minelio Oliver, 38, and village watchman Eddie Unso, 38, were arrested.

According to initial reports, the supporters of one of the candidates confronted those supporting the rival bet in Sitio Danglas, Barangay Labut due to allegations of vote buying.

There are only two candidates for mayor in Magsingal: Alrico Favis, whose wife Victoria is the incumbent mayor and is running under the Kilusang Bagong Lipunan, and Lorry Salvador Jr., an independent.

Recto was said to be a supporter of Favis while Torda was with the group of  Salvador.

The Ilocos regional police office ordered a thorough probe into the incident.

Magsingal, which is among the election areas of concern, is under yellow category.

Election-related incidents in previous elections and intense political rivalry are among the factors to place an area under yellow category.

In Batangas, three supporters of a candidate for mayor were arrested for allegedly kidnapping and beating up a barangay captain they accused of vote buying in Lemery town.

Lt. Roy Aguinalde, town police officer-in-charge, said Mernick Azares, 24; farm worker Moises Gutierez, 22, and welder Romeo Mendoza, 27, all residents of San Pascual, Batangas, were charged with kidnapping.

Aguinalde said the wife of barangay captain Tirso Endaya of San Isidro Itaas filed the complaint.

In Zamboanga del Sur, armed men barged into a meeting of Councilor Alex Aldie Amores of Tabina town and his supporters in Purok Arbor, Barangay Malim.

Brig. Gen. Franco Simborio of the Zamboanga peninsula police said the gunmen reportedly fired shots in the air, ordered Amores’ supporters to drop to the ground and took the money, bankbook and personal belongings of the councilor.

Simborio said responding policemen recovered bullet shells for an M16 rifle, caliber .45 pistol and a 9mm.

Probers said harassment could be the motive for the attack. – Eva Visperas, Ed Amoroso, Roel Pareño


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