MANILA, Philippines — Senator Teofisto Guingona III blamed the New People’s Army for the assassination attempt on his mother, Gingoog City Mayor Ruth de Lara Guingona on late Saturday.
In a statement on Sunday, Guingona slammed the NPA for firing upon “an elderly and innocent woman who is already bowing out of politics.” The senator said the NPA was wrong to attack his mother for bringing arms at a rebel checkpoint. “The persons that were carrying the arms are members of Philippine National Police,” he said.
He said his mother, who was in her 70s and in her third term as Mayor, was ambushed on her way home from a fiesta in the city’s outskirts.
Guingona said he was relieved that her mother survived and suffered only wounds. But he mourned the death of her driver and security escort. “Brothers Nestor and Bartolome Velasco were killed in a hail of bullets on board the Hi-Lux pick-up she was riding in. The fatalities were loyal employees of long standing in our family’s home in Mindanao. My heart grieves for them and their families,” said Guingona.
Guingona said that his mother was “wounded and trapped inside the vehicle that fell on its side due to grenade explosions” until she was rescued early Sunday.
Sen. Franklin Drilon, campaign manager of Team PNoy, vowed to apply “the full force of the law” in identifying and bringing to the bar of justice the perpetrators of the crime.
“We have seen too many (cases of) political violence in our country and this is completely unacceptable. We must take meaningful measures to prevent similar incidents from happening again, regardless of the politics,” said Drilon.
Guingona said that no one had the right to “take the law in his own hands.”
“We would like to remind everyone in this country that there is only one government of the Republic of the Philippines. There is only one President who is in-charge of executing the laws of this land. That is President Noynoy Aquino. He is the Commander in Chief of the Armed Forces of the Philippines,” said Guingona.