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Critic of campaign vs Iloilo power supplier shot dead

Member of political clan had claimed signature drive against electric firm was fraudulent

ILOILO CITY — An Iloilo City councilor has denied involvement in the killing of his estranged cousin who had accused him of being among those behind an alleged fake signature campaign against the city’s electricity distributor.

Councilor Plaridel Nava said he was not capable and was not behind the killing of Mercedes “Gingging” Nava, his first cousin.

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“I’m not that kind of person,” the councilor said.

A motorcycle-riding gunman shot dead Mercedes and her companion, Erwin Fontillas, while she was driving a Mitsubishi Strada in Mandurriao district on Friday morning.

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Two other companions, who were seated at the back of the pickup, were unhurt.

The victims were brought to Western Visayas Medical Center but died while being given emergency treatment by doctors.

Assassins’ target

In an earlier interview, Senior Insp. Marlon Valencia, chief of the Mandurriao district police station, said Mercedes, who was driving the vehicle, was apparently the target of the gunman.

Mercedes was backing up the vehicle along a road when two men flagged her down before the gunman approached the driver’s seat and repeatedly fired.

The assailant fled toward Arevalo district.

Councilor Nava said he was issuing the statement after he heard reports insinuating that his disputes with his cousin were being eyed as among the motives in the killing.

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The councilor has a history of often public tiffs with the victim including those that involved personal issues. The fathers of Mercedes and the councilor are siblings.

The latest dispute was when she accused the councilor of being among those who orchestrated an alleged fake signature campaign against Panay Electric Co. (Peco), the city’s power distributor.

The Senate and House of Representatives have passed a bill granting a 25-year franchise to the company More Electric and Power Corp. instead of renewing Peco’s franchise.

Peco critic

The councilor, chair of the city council’s committee on public utilities, was among the vocal critics of Peco and was supporting the nonrenewal of its franchise, which ends on Jan. 19.

But Nava said his dispute with his cousin started in 2012.

“If I really was capable of doing this, this would have happened back then,” the councilor said.

“I will also be not doing this because its near election time,” said Nava, who is running for vice mayor in the May 2019 elections.

He said other persons who have had disputes with his cousin could also be behind the killing.

“It is also common knowledge that she has publicly attacked many persons and not only me,” he said.

Valencia said investigators, however, were still determining the motive for the killing and the identity of the assailants.

He said Mercedes was involved in several cases pending before courts.

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TAGS: Erwin Fontillas, Gingging Nava, Iloilo power supplier dispute, Mercedes Nava, Panay Electric Co, Peco, Plaridel Nava
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