Aurora town poll exec shot dead
CITY OF SAN FERNANDO—The Commission on Elections (Comelec) officer in Maria Aurora town in Aurora was shot and killed by two men in his house in the province on Saturday night, police said Sunday.
Chief Inspector Michael Amio, Maria Aurora police chief, said investigators had yet to identify the perpetrators and establish possible motives in the murder of Romualdo Palispis, the town’s election officer.
Lawyer Emmanuel Ignacio, Comelec assistant director in Central Luzon, said Palispis’ murder may not be election-related as there were no pending poll disputes in the town.
The official’s friends believe he was murdered for leading a campaign opposing to reduce Maria Aurora’s land area to create a new town out of it.
A police report said Palispis, 54, was gunned down at 8 p.m. on Saturday as he was playing guitar in his house in Barangay (village) Tres. The assassins shot him in the head before fleeing on a motorcycle.
“I think he was silenced in connection with the protest against the proposed splitting of Maria Aurora town,” Alfonso van Zijl, executive director of the nongovernment organization Bataris, said in a text message on Sunday.
Palispis, Van Zijl said, chaired the Justice and Peace Action Group of Aurora (JPAG) in Maria Aurora and headed the Task Force Huwag Hatiin ang Bayan ng Maria Aurora (Do Not Divide Maria Aurora).
A report from Bataris, which is assisting the family of Palispis, said the victim was sitting in front of his house when one of the assailants shot him. The bullet hit his right eye.
Palispis’ widow, Sol, said two witnesses heard a gunshot on Saturday night and saw two men wearing helmets running out of their house.
Van Zijl said the task force has been opposing two bills in Congress that seek to create from out of Maria Aurora’s lands a town named after Dr. Juan Angara, the late mayor of the capital town of Baler and former lieutenant governor of the sub-province of Aurora. Angara is the father of Sen. Edgardo Angara and Gov. Bellaflor Angara-Castillo.
“The killing should be condemned,” said Aurora Rep. Juan Edgardo Angara, author of one of the bills. Aurora, he said, has no history of election-related violence.
Van Zijl said the education campaign against the proposed laws began last month, leading to forums in villages that came up with resolutions opposing the bills.
Sol asked the police to render justice to her husband, describing him to be an honest man who served his community well.
She also called on JPAG and task force members to “continue the fight that Waldo began for our beloved town.” Tonette Orejas, Inquirer Central Luzon
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