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Candidate for Congress, driver die in QC ambush

/ 05:32 AM January 31, 2019

A barangay chair running for representative of the second district of Quezon City was shot and killed on Wednesday, reducing to just two candidates — both women — seeking the post.

Barangay Chair Crisell “Beng” Beltran was killed with her driver, Melchor Salita, at 11:40 a.m. while traversing in a white Ford Everest along J.P. Rizal Street in her village, Bagong Silangan.

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Vice Mayor Joy Belmonte said the city council would hold a special session on Thursday to set aside an initial P3 million as reward for any information leading to the arrest of suspects in the killing of Beltran and her driver.

Four men on two motorbikes suddenly appeared in front of the sport utility vehicle (SUV) and fired shots, according to a report reaching Chief Supt. Joselito Esquivel, director of the Quezon City Police Department (QCPD).

Beltran, 47, was taken to FEU-NRMF Medical Center but was declared dead around 12:25 p.m.

Salita was declared dead on arrival at Malvar General Hospital.

Wounded were four other occupants of the SUV, including three minors.

Rep. Vincent Crisologo of the first district of Quezon City condemned the killing of Beltran.

“This is a dastardly act that was done on our party’s candidate for Congress. This is the first time that this kind of violence happened in Quezon City politics,” Crisologo said.

‘Politically motivated’

The three-term lawmaker said members of his party were in shock over the ruthless manner by which Beltran was killed.

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Crisologo, who is running for mayor of Quezon City, said he had reason to believe the killing was politically motivated.

In the second district, the two remaining candidates for a seat in the House of Representatives are Councilor Precious Hipolito-Castelo and Annie Susano.

Castelo is the wife of Rep. Winston Castelo, who is on his third and last term.

“She (Beltran) was a sweet lady, who was very friendly, and did not have enemies. She was doing well and was on her third term as barangay captain, and because of that she was a strong contender in the next elections,” Crisologo said.

Police task group

The QCPD has formed Special Investigation Task Group (SITG) Beltran to look into the murder.

Esquivel said the 10-member SITG Beltran would be headed by Senior Supt. Erson Udal Digal, deputy district director for operations.

“We will look into all angles to establish the motive behind the ambush,” Esquivel said.

“However, we are also considering politics as among the motives since Beltran is seeking a seat in the second congressional district,” he added.

Vice Mayor Belmonte said she condemned the killing of Beltran and Salita in the strongest possible terms.

“I extend my most heartfelt condolences to her family and loved ones, and I assure them that we will exhaust all means to bring the perpetrators of this shameless crime to justice,” she said.

Belmonte vowed to ensure that Quezon City would not become a hot spot for political violence.

“As a personal friend to Beng, her brutal murder has shocked me. Just two weeks ago, we were together on a learning visit in Davao City,” she said.

“She was very close to my family, especially my father, and even though she served in another political party so as to pursue her personal goals in life, there was absolutely no animosity between us,” Belmonte said.

“I know that she will be very much missed by the people who have worked with her and loved her — including myself,” she said. —Reports from Jodee A. Agoncillo and Melvin Gascon

See the bigger picture with the Inquirer's live in-depth coverage of the election here https://inq.ph/Election2019

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TAGS: 2019 elections, Chrisell Beltran, election violence, Melchor Salita
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