TAGUM, Davao del Norte—There was a sense of déjà vu in the incident.
Senatorial candidate Jack Enrile said his convoy was fired upon in Mawab, Compostela Valley, while he was on his way to Tagum for a campaign sortie Tuesday afternoon.
No one was reported hurt.
The bullets fired by unknown gunmen hit a police vehicle that was following the convoy, said the son of Senate President Juan Ponce Enrile.
“It was a little scary,” the Cagayan representative running on the Senate ticket of the United Nationalist Alliance (UNA) in the May elections told reporters.
But Enrile said there were no similarities at all between Tuesday’s incident and the controversial “ambush” of his father that was cited by President Ferdinand Marcos as the final straw that broke the camel’s back, as it were, and prompted the strongman to declare martial law on Sept. 23, 1972. The elder Enrile became Marcos’ chief martial law enforcer.
“No similarities at all. The difference is like night and day. I don’t believe we should imply anything by this,” Enrile said.
The candidate said he did not regard it as an ambush and did not think he was the target.
Enrile said it was probable the police were the target, and the opportunity was taken advantage of by those who had some gripes against the Philippine National Police.
Reporters, who traveled to Tagum ahead of Enrile’s convoy, were later provided a photograph of the police vehicle said to have been hit in the shooting, with at least one hole on its side.
Enrile joked that he might write about the incident. “One of these days, we will write our own book. But you were there,” he said with a laugh.
In a statement issued later, Enrile condemned the shooting.
“I will not speculate on who fired the shots, who the intended target was, or the motive behind the incident. I am just extremely grateful that none of us was hurt. But I still deplore the fact that this happened,” he said.
Enrile said it was the first time he experienced something like this.
The seven-vehicle convoy had come from Nabunturan in Compostela Valley and was on its way to Tagum when Enrile said he heard “two distinct shots.”
He said he “hunkered down” on the front seat of his Ford Expedition and then he heard return fire.
The convoy proceeded on its way. When the other vehicles in the group caught up with him, Enrile said he learned that the police vehicle was hit.
He said he did not know that the police vehicle was following his convoy. Apparently, he said, the police had sent a team to provide him security and that he was grateful for it.
But Enrile also said he might ask that a police escort be no longer assigned to him, in light of the incident.
Enrile said he considered this experience an isolated incident, and hoped it would never happen again.
He said the UNA candidates planned a meeting last night to discuss the incident and decide what to do or precautions to take in their sorties.
Originally posted: 6:05 pm | Tuesday, March 19th, 2013