Supporters of rival bets accuse each other of failed ambush in Abra town
BAGUIO CITY — Supporters of rival mayoral candidates in the Abra town of Lagayan allegedly engaged in a gunfight on Thursday morning (Jan. 3) along a river bank. No casualties have been reported at press time.
The bullet-riddled red Ford Ranger pick-up truck with no license plate was found abandoned near the river in Barangay (village) Collago past 7 a.m.
Some 800 meters away, police also found a white Nissan Navarra pick-up truck (with license plate no. POQ 615) also with bullet holes.
Investigators confirmed that the white vehicle was driven by Collago village councilman Jayron Dulig Martinez, 31, who sought refuge along with his passenger, Brix Aquino Donato,17, after reportedly being attacked.
The two said they were headed for Collago when they were blocked reportedly by the red pick-up truck. Its occupants, identified as Nonoy Blaza, Jaypee Bersamira, Benjie Vista, Jerome Andoy and a certain “Baldat,” allegedly opened fire.
But Martinez and Donato survived the supposed assault. They are supporters of Lagayan mayoral candidate Edmarc Crisologo, who is challenging incumbent Mayor Jendricks Luna in the midterm elections. They have been rivals for the past three local elections.
Luna, however, claimed the passengers of the white truck had attacked the vehicle of Blaza, who serves as a driver for the town’s Rural Health Unit.
Luna and his wife, Vice Mayor Chrisma Joy Luna, were recently slapped with a 6-month suspension by the Abra provincial board for an administrative infraction regarding road projects.
Abra Governor Jocelyn Bernos urged both parties “to calm down and exercise political maturity.”
“We do not need these kinds of bravado,” she said, and encouraged political leaders in the province “to instead focus on sustaining the gains of the province towards growth, prosperity, and progress.”/lb
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