Cebu News

After Dumanjug meeting: 10 armed men“attack” bets

The Freeman

CEBU, Philippines - Around 10 persons allegedly armed with long firearms and grenades reportedly riddled the vehicle of a vice mayoralty candidate full of holes after a consultative meeting in Barangay Masa, Dumanjug town, yesterday afternoon.

Dumanjug Vice Mayor Efren “Gungun” Gica Gica narrated that he just left from the venue of the meeting organized by his slate for the 2016 elections when the incident happened.

He said his car was around 20 meters away from the venue when he heard gunshots which seemed to come from high-powered firearms.

“Makita na nimo ang mga tawo na-rattle na ang mga tawo, nanago sa ilaha, gipanghukas ang ilang t-shirt nga yellow kay nangita sa akong kauban ang mga nagpurong,” he said.

A loud burst followed and smoke came out from the venue which prompted Gica to instruct his driver to halt and drive back to the area. The driver refused to do so and instead they proceeded to the police station to report the incident.

The attack appeared to be concentrated on the Pajero of his running mate, municipal councilor Rene Asentista, which was riddled with bullets and shrapnel.

No one was hurt or killed in the attack.

According to Police Officer 1 Laroniel Labasa of Dumanjug Police Station, the incident happened around 1:10 p.m. yesterday but they received the report around 1:30 p.m. He said after receiving the alarm, they immediately responded to the area. Personnel from the Police Public Safety Company and the Special Weapons and Tactics team of Moalboal town also came to assist.

Labasa said they found six empty shells from an M16 rifle, two empty shells from a .45 cal. pistol, an empty shell of a 40mm M203 grenade launcher and an unexploded grenade from the crime scene.

Politically motivated?

Gica said at least 10 armed men were seen in the area and reported being able to personally identify two of them.

He said one of them was arrested during a raid by the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency last year but was able to post bail, and is included in the list of targeted drug personalities.

Labasa said reports from the residents in the area also point out a notorious illegal drug personality led the attack. In fact, Labasa said they have already applied for a warrant against the person and they are just waiting for the right papers to arrest him. The FREEMAN will not reveal his name yet because police have not considered him a suspect.

Five others allegedly involved in the attack have also been identified by the police.

Labasa said they still cannot determine if the crime was politically motivated as they are still considering other angles like illegal drugs.

Chief Superintendent Prudencio Tom Bañas, regional director of the Police Regional Office-7, said because of the incident, they might consider recommending Dumanjug as an area of concern, or a political hotspot.

“According to provincial director (Senior Superintendent Noel Gillamac), medyo mainit talaga (ang political competition) ng bayan na iyan and he recommends that it be considered a hotspot,” said Bañas.

However, he also said they will still continue to evaluate the situation and make recommendations for the town accordingly.

Gica, who is challenging incumbent mayor Nelson Gamaliel Garcia in 2016, also expressed disappointment over Garcia’s treatment of the incident.

He said Garcia, who was able to inform the police about the incident before they did, tagged the vice mayor as the suspect of the incident. He added that Garcia described the incident only as a plot of their own camp to gain sympathy.

“Kung sakto pa siya nga mayor, bisan unsa pa mi kakontra, di unta siya mag-ingon ana, iya unta ipaimbestigar. Nelson is crazy,” he lamented.

Gica is set to confer with the officials of the Police Regional Office-7 next week over the incident.

Garcia admitted saying that the incident was only a “drama” plotted by Gica which should just be disregarded.

He also belied allegation that the incident was politically motivated. He said he will not bother to destroy Gica since the latter’s image has already been destroyed because of the malversation case he is facing.

Gica earlier posted P40,000 bail for his malversation of public property case after the Office of the Ombudsman-Visayas indicted him for his alleged refusal to return a computer issued to him during his term as town councilor.

Garcia added that Gica’s claims have no basis.

“Sige lang na siya og pamasangil wa ra ba’y ebidensya,” he said. — /BRP (FREEMAN)













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