Davao del Norte mayor escapes apparent slay attempt
TAGUM CITY, Davao del Norte — The mayor of Kapalong, Davao del Norte escaped an apparent attempt on his life on Wednesday in what could have been the first serious case of election-related violence in the province, police said.
The would-be assassin, a man named Jennifer Marabulas, managed to escape but policemen guarding Mayor Edgardo Timbol managed to wrest the gun away from the gunman in an incident that happened in the village of Capungagan, according to Senior Superintendent Edgardo Wycoco, Davao del Norte police chief.
Timbol had just finished delivering a speech during the celebration of the village’s foundation day when the gunman approached him and drew a gun, said Chief Inspector Carl Omar Fiel, Kapalong police station chief.
“The mayor was shaking hands with supporters when the suspect met him and pulled a gun, but the official, sensing danger, shoved the man and policemen protecting the mayor subdued the suspect,” Fiel told Tagum radio station DXKS.
Marabulas managed to escape in the ensuing commotion while lawmen and civilian volunteers secured the mayor.
Fiel said Police Officer 3 Charlie Balinggao was able wrest the weapon, a Brazil-made PT140 Taurus .40-caliber pistol, away from the gunman.
Wycoco said they were considering Kapalong an area of concern, “with the concurrence of the provincial election supervisor.”
The incumbent mayor is running without an opponent for his third and last term. His wife, Ma. Theresa, head of Barangay (village) Maniki and head of Davao del Norte’s association of barangay captains, is running for the town’s second highest elective post against the incumbent vice mayor, Romy Estrada.
Following the incident, police have vowed to beef up security of all candidates.
Fiel said attempted murder charges and violation of the election gun ban were being readied against the suspect, said to be in his mid-20s to early 30s and a resident of Barangay Tiburcia, also in Kapalong.
The town police chief added his office was also coordinating with Sto. Tomas police as the suspect also has a case for illegal possession of firearms there.
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