LAOAG CITY—Mayors in Ilocos Norte have asked the Commission on Elections (Comelec) to restore their police escorts following the failed assassination of Marcos Mayor Salvador Pillos on Monday.
Paoay Mayor Bonifacio Clemente Jr., head of the League of Mayors in the province, said officials, particularly those running for reelection, were defenseless against hired guns.
Clemente said most mayors were moving about without security aides after the Comelec ordered the recall of their police escorts.
The mayors’ plea was made during the league’s meeting on Tuesday.
“Some mayors have guns but they are not allowed to use them because of the gun ban,” Clemente said.
“There’s a running joke among mayors that it was more comforting to just use their guns and be jailed for violating the ban than be buried six feet under the ground,” he added.
Pillos survived the attack on Monday while he was inspecting a construction project in his town. He suffered superficial bullet wounds and continues to recover in a local hospital.
Police said two men on a motorcycle drove to the construction site, and one approached the mayor and drew his .45 cal. pistol.
Pillos, however, ran before the gunman could pull the trigger as workers in the site were able to warn him by shouting, “Here he comes, mayor! Here he comes!”
The suspects fled toward the town’s mountainous part.
Police recovered the suspects’ motorcycle, which is registered to Joseph Siazon, a resident of Barangay Bayocboc in San Vicente, Ilocos Sur.
Senior Supt. Gerardo Ratuita, acting Ilocos Norte police director, said they had yet to establish the motive of the attack on Pillos.
Pillos said he believed the shooting was politically motivated. The mayor is seeking reelection and is running against a newcomer, businessman Arsenio Agustin.
Pillos said he had been receiving death threats since 2012 and had these recorded in the police blotter.
The attempt on Pillos was the ninth shooting case in Ilocos Norte since January and the first involving a candidate.
Shootings and the proliferation of loose firearms have been a police concern since the start of 2013. Cristina Arzadon, Inquirer Northern Luzon