MANILA, Philippines—Jorge Madlos, spokesperson of the National Democratic Front in Mindanao, apologized on Sunday, to the Guingonas for the gun attack on Gingoog City Mayor Ruthie Guingona and her bodyguards, saying the NPA was not intending to ambush the party but only to hold the convoy, disarm the bodyguards and talk to the mayor.
“There was a makeshift roadblock but somebody in their convoy ordered to run it over and fire at the NPA, who were forced to return fire,” Madlos told the Philippine Daily Inquirer by phone Sunday.
“It is our heartfelt request to ask forgiveness to the family of Guingona. We did not expect this,” Madlos said.
Madlos said the NPA would also work on indemnifying the families of those killed.
Madlos, however, said the mayor’s entourage failed to ask permission from the NPA about campaigning in the areas, which the NPA claimed to have control of.
Asked if the failure of Guingona to ask the permit-to-campaign was the reason for the roadblock, Madlos said: “It is not the issue of campaign to permit fee, but rather adhering to policies to the revolutionary movement.”
The mayor is not running for any elective post, but her daughter, Marie, is eyeing to replace her mother as mayor of Gingoog City.
Madlos said the Guingona encounter should serve as a warning to politicians who would like to campaign in NPA-influenced areas not to bring armed escorts.
“They are not allowed to bring firearms unless they ask for special permits from the local NPA that they will bring one for their own protection against bandits,” Madlos said.