MANILA, Philippines—Interior Secretary Jesse M. Robredo warned on Friday he expected political killings to rise in the months leading to the 2013 midterm elections, following the assassination of Vice Mayor Abel Martinez of Mambusao, Capiz, on Friday.
“We do foresee an increase in incidents and have taken additional measures,” he said in text messages to the Inquirer.
But Philippine National Police spokesperson Senior Superintendent Generoso Cerbo Jr. said it was still premature to conclude that Martinez’ killing might be motivated by politics.
In a briefing at Camp Crame, Cerbo said the investigation was still ongoing, and noted that Capiz was traditionally not a hotbed of election violence.
“In fact, based on statistics, Capiz may be considered among the most peaceful provinces during elections,” he told reporters.
Robredo said Chief Superintendent Cipriano Querol, the Western Visayas police director, was on top of the investigation into the murder of Martinez, who was shot dead by a lone gunman in front of his house on Rizal Street, Poblacion proper, at about 6 a.m.
“We have initial leads on the case,” Robredo said without elaborating.
He advised local politicians planning to run in next year’s elections to request police security “if they need it.”
“We will do case assessment before the request is granted,” he said.
Robredo, however, said he was discouraging politicians from employing private security guards.
Martinez suffered three bullets wounds in the head and two in the back, according to local police. Eyewitnesses told investigators the gunman fled to a waiting shed where a companion was waiting for him on a motorcycle.