DIGOS CITY, Philippines—Unidentified armed men tried but failed to snatch the father of reelectionist Mayor Joseph Peñas on Tuesday, the police reported.
Supt. Allan Manibog, city police director, said Bernardino Peñas, 93, was inside his house on Cabrillos St. when two men riding in tandem on a motorbike arrived around 10:30 a.m. and told the elder Peñas they would just like to ask for campaign t-shirts marked “Abante” as they were allegedly political supporters of Mayor Peñas.
Abante is the reelectionist mayor’s local political party.
Manibog said witnesses—including the mayor’s cousin and neighbors of the elder Peñas, who happened to be in the vicinity—told police investigators the local executive’s father told the men he was not involved in the distribution of Abante t-shirts and that he did not have any in his house.
“The men then allegedly asked the old man to accompany them to where the t-shirts might be available and tried to enter the house,” Manibog, quoting an investigation report, added.
He said the mayor’s cousin noticed a bulge at each of the men’s waists, which he suspected to be concealed guns, and immediately summoned for help.
The elder Peñas’ neighbors—alarmed by the commotion—rushed to his house, prompting the armed men to immediately flee, Manibog, still quoting an investigation report, said.
He said the police were still investigating the incident.
Mayor Peñas could not be reached for comment as of this writing. His phone had apparently been turned off.
Meanwhile, sources from the Commission on Elections (Comelec) said tension have been rising in Davao del Sur, including in this city, in the days leading to the May 13 polls.
The sources said placing the entire province under Comelec control has been discussed although nothing has been finalized yet.
Earlier, police and military authorities had deployed additional forces to the province—even tapping soldiers and policemen from such other Southern Mindanao provinces as Compostela Valley and Davao del Norte.
In the entire Southern Mindanao region, only Davao del Sur has been considered an area of concern by the Comelec due to its history of election violence.