LAOAG CITY—Police are looking at the possibility that the Saturday killing of a mayoral candidate in Marcos, Ilocos Norte, could be related to the failed assassination attempt on reelectionist Mayor Salvador Pillos three weeks ago.
Initial investigation showed that the murder of Alfred Arce, who was running against Pillos, could be linked to the shooting of the latter in Marcos town on Feb. 4, said Superintendent Jeffrey Gorospe, provincial police spokesman.
Chief Supt. Ricardo Marquez, acting regional police director in the Ilocos, attended a case conference on Sunday at the police’s Camp Valentin Juan here to discuss possible motives in Arce’s murder.
Arce, a retired policeman, was once detained for keeping guns and explosives in his house. He was later released after a court dismissed the case.
Gorospe said Arce, in one of his last conversations with the police, had blamed Pillos as behind the search in his house.
While Pillos did not point at Arce as behind the attempt on his life, he said “politics” could be a reason for the attack on him early this month, Gorospe said.
He said the police have yet to arrest suspects but they have identified “persons of interest” whose names he withheld pending the investigation’s outcome.
A special police task force was created to pursue the gunmen behind Arce’s killing.
Gorospe said Senior Inspector Ronald Cesar, Marcos police director, was replaced so he could focus on the investigation.
He said Marcos town has yet to be placed under the Commission on Elections’ control despite the recent attacks on local politicians.
Arce, an independent candidate, was driving a motorcycle in Barangay (village) Fortuna at 2 p.m. when he was attacked by two men.
Police said two passengers of a jeepney were hit by stray bullets during the attack. Cristina Arzadon, Inquirer Northern Luzon