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At 83, Pacificador still in the running


ANTIQUE—He was once the most powerful man in Antique, who was jailed for nine years on charges that he had his staunch political rival killed shortly before the People Power revolt in 1986.

After the court acquitted him of the murder of Evelio Javier, many people thought that former Assemblyman Arturo “Turing” Pacificador would enjoy his freedom away from politics. They were wrong.

In the 2004, 2007 and 2010 elections, Pacificador ran for elective posts but lost. Now 83 and having difficulty in walking after suffering stroke, he is not even thinking of retiring.

The former ally of the late dictator Ferdinand Marcos is seeking a seat in the provincial board in the May 13 elections, 27 years after he was booted out of power in the 1986 revolt. A candidate of the  United Nationalist Alliance, he is among the 11 candidates contesting five board seats representing the south district.

Pacificador had a stroke in December last year. He finds it hard to walk, so he reaches out to voters through radio interviews.

“I would have reconsidered my plans if the stroke happened before I filed my candidacy. But I don’t want to back out because never in my political life have I withdrawn from a battle,” he said.

Pacificador’s supporters, mostly volunteers, have been distributing handbills and putting up posters and streamers in the province’s 18 towns. He claimed he did not spend for his campaign materials because these were donated by supporters, relatives and friends.

“I had helped people in the past and now that they have become successful and their lives improved, they want to help me, too,” he said.

During the Marcos regime, Pacificador was assemblyman and majority floor leader of the then Batasang Pambansa representing Antique’s lone district. He also served as deputy minister for public works and highways.

He was tagged as mastermind in the Feb. 11, 1986, murder of Javier, his archrival and former governor.

Javier was shot by heavily armed men at the public plaza of the capital town of San Jose during the canvassing of votes of the snap presidential elections between Marcos and Corazon “Cory” Aquino.

When the regime collapsed, Pacificador fled. On March 8, 1995, he surfaced to face charges for the killing.

On Oct. 12, 2004, the Antique Regional Trial Court (RTC) acquitted Pacificador and three coaccused. But eight others, including lawyer Avelino “Bob” Javellana and mostly security personnel of Pacificador, were convicted.

Pacificador’s son Rodolfo is still facing arrest despite his escape to Canada where he is seeking citizenship.

Pacificador also allegedly masterminded the killing of seven Javier supporters on May 13, 1984, at Pangpang Bridge in Sibalom town. Two of Pacificador’s security escorts were killed in what he claimed as an encounter.

On March 7, 1996, the Antique RTC convicted five of Pacificador’s bodyguards of seven counts of murder and one count of frustrated murder. The Supreme Court upheld the ruling on Feb. 6, 2002.

Pacificador was tried separately but acquitted on Feb. 16, 2001.

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Tags: Arturo “Turing” Pacificador , People

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