Bet for councilor shot twice in head in Nueva Ecija
Blood started to spill following the circus-like start of the election season with a candidate for councilor in Nueva Ecija becoming what could be the first exhibit of the violence that defines many Philippine political contests.
The candidate for councilor in San Antonio town, Nueva Ecija was gunned down in front of his house on Friday, eight days after he filed his certificate of candidacy (COC).
Jose Alan Joson, 42, could be the first fatality of an election season that was likely to spill more blood as election day draws near.
Joson was conversing with neighbors around 4:25 p.m. at the village of Hulo when a man riding a motorcycle came by and shot him multiple times before speeding off, according to Chief Insp. Marlon Cudal, San Antonio police chief.
Joson was brought to a hospital where he was declared dead of two gunshot wounds in the head and seven in the torso, police said.
Investigators were looking into Joson’s political history, but weren’t discounting motives other than politics in the attack.
Joson, a distant relative of Nueva Ecija Board Member Edward Thomas Joson, was a councilor until 2016.
He ran for San Antonio vice mayor under the United Nationalist Alliance party and lost by a narrow 198 votes. San Antonio had 51,113 registered voters during the 2016 elections.
Joson was also former president of the Sangguniang Kabataan Federation.
He filed his COC on Oct. 11 seeking to reclaim his council seat.
Catherine, Joson’s 40-year-old widow, said she did not know why anyone would want to hurt her husband, whom she described as a nice man.
But three of six independent candidates in next year’s elections reported receiving funeral wreaths after filing their COCs, which some people assumed were threats, said Liwayway, Joson’s 65-year-old mother.
“The flowers were strapped on the doors” of the candidates’ houses, Liwayway said.
Joson, who was also running as an independent candidate, was not among those who received the wreaths, however, Liwayway said.
She said Joson used to fetch his 10-year-old child from school but was discouraged from riding alone on his motorcycle after filing his COC.
Liwayway said her son was waiting outside the house for a tricycle when he was attacked.
Board Member Joson, who is running for vice governor, was among the first people to visit the late councilor at the morgue.
He condemned the killing and said it should draw the same public outrage that accompanied the June 10 shooting death of Fr. Richmond Nilo as he prepared for the evening Mass and the July 3 murder of General Tinio Mayor Ferdinand Bote outside a Cabanatuan City government compound.
On Dec. 4 last year, gunmen also killed retired priest Fr. Marcelito “Tito” Paez.
“This is troubling because Nueva Ecija has had so many high-profile murders,” said Board Member Joson.
Earlier in Siquijor province, a municipal councilor was shot dead by unknown assailants riding a motorcycle in the town of Lazi on the day of the filing of COCs.
Lazi Councilor Domingo Arcamo, 50, was waiting for his wife, Dorie, inside his car at the village of Poblacion when he was shot.
Bullets found their mark in his left chest and Arcamo was declared dead in a hospital.
In the town of Mahayag, Zamboanga del Sur, a provincial board member survived an attack.
Senior Insp. Harold Bruno, Mahayag police chief, said Teomila Nobleza, who was running for reelection as a candidate of the ruling Partido Demokratiko Pilipino-Lakas ng Bayan was driving her car when an unknown assailant, wearing a helmet, drove alongside her and started shooting as Nobleza got past a village cemetery. —Reports from Armand Galang, Anselmo Roque, Leah Agonoy and Benjie Talisic
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