Cebu News

Ronda mayor dodges attack by armed men

Mylen P. Manto and Kristine B. Quintas - The Freeman

CEBU, Philippines - Ronda incumbent Mayor Mariano Blanco III has claimed that unidentified armed men had fired upon his service vehicle Friday evening in Barangay Butong of the said town.

Blanco said he was onboard his Isuzu Trooper on his way to a campaign sortie when he noticed two vehicles-a brown Toyota Hilux and silver Nissan Patrol-tailing him.

Blanco said he pulled over in Barangay Butong thinking that a police detachment in the area would discourage his would-be attackers. However, one of the passengers of the Toyota Hilux allegedly disembarked and started spraying bullets at his vehicle. The alleged attackers, however, did not hit Blanco.

Blanco informed the town police chief, Inspector Edgar Labe, of the incident at 11:45 p.m. on Friday. A certain Gerry Vergara, supporter of Blanco, allegedly witnessed the incident.

Vergara told the police that the two vehicles used by the unidentified armed men stopped near his house.

Police Officer 2 Virgilio Villamor told The Freeman that based on the initial investigation the vehicles allegedly used by the gunmen were owned by Vice Mayor Jonah John Ungab, who is running against Blanco.

Villamor said a checkpoint was immediately conducted to intercept the vehicles. However, the police failed to arrest the culprits despite passing through the checkpoint.

"In a few moments the two vehicles Toyota Hilux with plate number 345 and Silver Nissan Patrol with plate number 880 appeared in high speed, when flagged down by the police officers the two vehicles over speed which almost hit the checkpoint signage and Mahindra patrol vehicle," the police report reads.

The policemen manning the checkpoint tried to chase the vehicles but failed to catch them. The police recovered four empty shells for 9mm at the area where the alleged strafing happened.

Blanco believes that the intention was only to threaten and harass him.                                          

"Pagpaboto nila, ni-atras dayon.Nakuyawan ko sa akong kinabuhi," he said.

He accused his opponent and nephew, Ungab, as the one responsible for the attack. All calls to Ungab were left unanswered as of press time. — (FREEMAN)

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