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‘Poll violence in Abra normal’
The Philippine Star
Abra’s police chief sees nothing abnormal about the province’s record of political killings, particularly during elections.
“It’s normal in Abra to have killings and it’s abnormal if there’s none,’’ Abra police chief Senior Supt. Alex Pumecha said. The Philippine National Police has deployed a special task force to restore order in Abra.
The latest political killings in the province took place last Friday when unidentified men killed in an ambush in Pang-oy, Lagayan town six relatives of congressional candidate and Lagayan Mayor Cecille Luna
The victims were Romero Guyang, barangay captain of Bai, Lagayan; Eduardo Guyang, Felima Caleflores, Jeson Battalao, Bali Rubeo and Darwin Sitnagen. Wounded were Lorenzo Guyang, Armenio Ayab and Roderick Guyang. The group had just left a wake on an SUV owned by Luna when waylaid by unidentified gunmen.
The ambush-slays came two days after the province’s four congressional candidates, Luna, Mailed Molina, Gov. Vicente Valera, and Gil Valera, vowed over radio program “Talakayan’’ not to resort to violence.
Luna accused Governor Valera as the one responsible for the killings.
“I am the real target and nobody would dare to do this to us except him (Valera),” said Luna, who earlier sued Valera for allegedly attempting to assassinate her.
But Pumecha said they have no suspect yet or evidence to link Valera to the ambush-slay.
“As of now we do not have the identities of the suspects and we are not linking anybody yet in the ambush because we are still investigating the incident, which is probably politically motivated,” Pumecha said.
The deteriorating peace and order situation in Abra ahead of the May 14 polls prompted the Commission on Elections to place the province under its control.
“The police task force is useless here because just about everybody wants to carry a gun. They believe there’s a chance for an amicable settlement for a crime, but you can’t negotiate with St. Peter once you’re dead,’’ a police official who declined to be named said. The killing of Abra Rep. Luis Bersamin outside Mount Carmel Church in Quezon City late last year was believed to be the first case of election-related violence involving Abra politicians. Myds Supnad and Jun Elias