Cops in ‘shootout’ with poll bet’s escorts in Abra town
BAGUIO CITY––The police on Tuesday engaged armed men identified with an official of Pilar town in Abra province in a brief gunbattle, the day after the Cordillera Police Office announced that there could be peaceful elections there in May.
Capt. Ronaldo Eslabra, Pilar police chief, said police gave chase when a heavily tinted van failed to stop at an election checkpoint set up at the town center.
He said the van rammed a police vehicle and allegedly shot at another police car, prompting the Pilar lawmen to return fire.
The van proceeded to the house of Pilar Vice Mayor Jaja Josefina Somera-Disono, sister of Mayor Mark Roland Somera, whose father, the late former Abra Vice Gov. Rolando Somera, was killed in Marikina City in 2017. Disono is seeking reelection in the May elections.
Eslabra said the officials refused to come out and asked him to enter the compound alone to negotiate a way out of the standoff.
Disono said in a radio interview that armed men in civilian clothes ambushed them as they made their way home from the municipal hall.
According to the vice mayor, the unidentified men tried to get them to step out of the van, prompting their driver to speed off.
The 30-minute footage taken by multiple security cameras was broadcast live over social media, purportedly showing a house being surrounded by what appeared to be police vehicles between 10:30 a.m. and 11 a.m.
Unverified reports from various sources claim there was a fatality in the gunfight.
Abra had been notorious for election-related violence and the emergence of private armed groups. But in the last two polls, the province had been relatively peaceful.
A special operations task force oversees the province.