Political Killings: News from Phil Star
April 9, 2007 4:26am CST
Another violence... When can we have a peaceful election? --- Isabela campaign attack: 2 dead By Charlie Lagasca The Philippine Star 04/09/2007 A gunman barged into a political meeting among supporters of a mayoralty candidate in a remote town in Isabela province on Black Saturday, shooting two people dead including the candidate’s grandson and injuring one. Police arrested the suspect later but it was not clear yet if the killings of Vismark Frank Paredes, 23-year-old grandson of Jones mayoralty candidate Francisco "Paquing" Paredes; and Rufino Alejo, a former tanod chief of Barangay Disimpit in Jones town were election related. Police said there might be a second gunman because two types of spent shells were found at the crime scene – five from a .45 caliber pistol and one from a 9 mm pistol. Wounded in the attack was Alejo’s son Mark. Based on initial reports, suspect Mark Lagunilla, 31, first shot Vismark as he was leaving the compound where the meeting was taking place at around 9:30 p.m. in Barangay Disimpit. On hearing the gunshots, Paredes and Mark’s father Rufino rushed to the scene only to be gunned down. Paredes, an incumbent municipal councilor, is running under the Lakas-Christian Muslim Democrats ticket. Although a Lakas-CMD member, Paredes is a supporter of reelectionist Gov. Grace Padaca, who is allied with Sen. Franklin Drilon’s faction of the Liberal Party. Padaca is running against former three-term governor Benjamin Dy, younger brother of former governor Faustino Dy Jr., president of the Nationalist People’s Coalition. Padaca defeated the elder Dy in the 2004 gubernatorial race. Gamu town Mayor Fernando Cumigad, regional spokesman for the Lakas-CMD, said it was too early to blame politics for the murders. "The incident is a sensitive matter, so it is still premature to conclude that it is politically motivated," Cumigad said. Isabela is one the provinces in the country with a history of election violence. The Commission on Elections eyes including the province in its list of election hotspots. The twin killings came hours after Rommel Diasen, a Lakas-CMD gubernatorial candidate, was slain by an unidentified gunman while delivering a campaign speech in Barangay Maganao, in the capital town of Tabuk in Kalinga province. Image shattered The killing of a Comelec official allegedly by a bodyguard of a mayoral candidate in Puerta Princesa City has tainted the city’s reputation as showcase of peaceful elections. Witnesses have pointed to PO1 Alfredo Carandang, a bodyguard of mayoralty candidate retired Gen. Eduardo Matillano, as the one who shot dead Comelec official Petronilo Amorin Jr. last April 3. Puerto Princesa City prosecutors filed murder charges against Carandang. The suspect may also be charged with violation of the Omnibus Election Code for possession of firearms. National Bureau of Investigation agents arrested Carandang days after the murder. It was learned that two days before the killing of Amorin, Matillano was said to have slapped a certain David Nale of Barangay Irawan. The following day, April 2, he reportedly pushed, shoved and verbally threatened the barangay chairman of Bancao-Bancao who is also running for city councilor. Ironically, Matillano was one of the local candidates who signed the covenant for Honest, Orderly and Peaceful Elections [HOPE] last March 29. "This is the very first time in the city’s history that elections were marred by blood. If this is the way my political opponent plans to win the election, by the use of force and intimidation, he is in for a very big disappointment, as the peace-loving people of Puerto Princesa City will definitely not allow it," incumbent Mayor Edward Hagedorn said. "I personally will not allow the peace and order situation in the city to be ravaged by anyone’s naked ambition for power," he said.
10 Apr 07
Many are being killed and more lives are lost during election periods. Shall we still dream of peaceful elections? Unless the government leaders from the top will change, we could not expect killings to be decreased.