Negros Occidental town councilor, uncle ambushed on campaign trail
BACOLOD CITY — A councilor and his uncle were on the campaign trail on Thursday morning when they were ambushed in Barangay Inolingan, Moises Padilla town, about 48 km south of here.
Killed were Mark Garcia, brother of Vice Mayor Ella Garcia-Yulo of Moises Padilla in Negros Occidental, and their nephew, Councilor Michael Garcia.
The ambush prompted acting poll provincial supervisor Salud Milagros Villanueva to call for an emergency meeting.
“We are currently assessing the situation and are taking measures regarding the matter, which will be enforced by the Philippine National Police and Army,” she told the Inquirer.
Yulo, Mark and Michael were on the campaign convoy about 10 a.m. when hooded men ambushed them.
The hooded men were on board a black pickup and motorcycles and were armed with M-16 rifles, shotguns and .45 caliber pistols.
Yulo survived unharmed but her brother and nephew were killed, said police Capt. Junji Liba, town police chief.
After the ambush, the members of the convoy stayed put in the area out of fear that the armed men might return.
Brig. Gen. Benedict Arevalo, 303rd Infantry Brigade commander, said they had to secure the area after the ambush to allow the Garcia convoy to return to the town proper, which was about 3 km from the site of the ambush.
Yulo is running for mayor against incumbent Mayor Magdaleno Peña.
She had been released from detention on what she called “trumped up and politically motivated charges.”
Moises Padilla has been placed under Category Red, or an area of grave concern, for the May 13 elections.
Former Rep. Jeffrey Ferrer of Negros Occidental’s 4th district, who is running for vice governor, condemned the killing of the Garcias, describing it as “barbaric.”
“Justice must be given to the Garcias,” he said.
He said politicians should keep the elections violence-free and people should be given the freedom to choose the candidates in the May 13 polls.
The ambush came 20 days after Yulo and her husband, Felix Mathias Segundo Yulo III, were granted bail and released after almost seven months in jail.
The couple were released after the prosecution failed to present strong evidence against them. They were charged with illegal possession of explosives, said Judge Edgar Tupas of the Regional Trial Court of Negros Occidental Branch 46, in his 12-page order.
Tupas set a P10,000-bail each for their provisional liberty during the pendency of Criminal Case No. 5456.
The couple had surrendered to Brig. Gen. John Bulalacao, Police Regional Office-6 director, on Sept. 11, 2018.
The vice mayor earlier said then that the charges lodged against them were based on planted evidence to politically harass her.
The police claimed that they found firearms and two grenades inside the couple’s vehicle during a checkpoint in Moises Padilla on Dec. 19, 2017.
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