2 gunmen attack, kill another bet for mayor
LAOAG CITY—Another mayoral candidate in Marcos town was shot dead by two motorcycle-riding men on Saturday in front of the Iglesia ni Cristo church there, police said.
Alfred Arce, an independent candidate, was driving a motorcycle on the national road in Barangay Fortuna at 2 p.m. when he was attacked by the two men, said Senior Supt. Gerardo Ratuita, officer in charge of the Ilocos regional police.
Police said two passengers of a jeepney were hit by stray bullets during the attack.
Arce was the second victim of election-related violence in Ilocos Norte following the failed assassination of reelectionist Marcos Mayor Salvador Pillos earlier this month.
Arce and Pillos are running in a three-way mayoral race against businessman Arsenio Agustin.
Ratuita said Arce, who was shot in the chest, died on the spot. The wounded were taken to the hospital and were declared out of danger.
Witnesses said the suspects, who wore red helmets and blue jackets, fled. The police recovered spent shells from a .45 cal. revolver.
The shooting came on the heels of another gun-related incident in Dingras town on Feb. 21 involving a retired policeman, Nestor Persinio, who was killed in front of his home in Barangay Peralta.
The attack on Pillos sent mayors in Ilocos Norte appealing to the Commission on Elections (Comelec) for the return of their bodyguards which the Comelec recalled.
Paoay Mayor Bonifacio Clemente Jr., head of the League of Mayors in the province, said officials, particularly those running for reelection, are defenseless against hired guns.
Clemente said most mayors were moving about without security aides after the Comelec ordered the recall of their police escorts.
The mayors’ plea was made during the league’s meeting on Tuesday.
“Some mayors have guns but they are not allowed to use them because of the gun ban,” Clemente said.
“There’s a running joke among mayors that it was more comforting to just use their guns and be jailed for violating the ban than be buried six feet under the ground,” he added. Cristina Arzadon, Inquirer N. Luzon