2 allies of Malabon bet laid to rest amid cries for justice
The two village councilors who were shot dead last week in Malabon City were laid to rest on Thursday, their funeral march marked by the blare of fire sirens and calls for justice for what many believe to be victims of election-related violence.
The remains of Daniel Villaluna were brought to Tugatog Cemetery, while those of Bienvenido Reyes were sent off for cremation by about a thousand sympathizers, including 300 fire volunteers on a convoy of 90 fire trucks.
Villaluna, 41, was fire volunteer chief and councilor of Barangay Concepcion, while Reyes was a councilor of Barangay San Agustin. The two men were ambushed by two still-unidentified gunmen at a gasoline station on Sacrista Street, Malabon, on March 23.
The victims were staunch supporters of Malabon Rep. Josephine Lacson-Noel, who is running for mayor against the incumbent Antolin Oreta III. Noel, who suspects politics to be behind the killings, has offered a P250,000 reward for the perpetrators’ arrest.
On Wednesday, Villaluna’s family and friends held a motorcade and later a protest rally in front of City Hall. Leaflets also surfaced in the streets denouncing the March 23 killings and the earlier attacks on four other barangay officials allied with Noel.
Meanwhile, Bong Padua, the city’s public information officer, said Oreta is considering filing libel charges against those spreading the leaflets linking him to the death of Villaluna and Reyes.
Oreta, who is seeking reelection under the ruling Liberal Party, dismissed the allegations as mere black propaganda.
“We do not know the agenda of the people behind this. They are practically blaming me for everything. The police are already looking into the case,” Oreta told reporters during his proclamation rally Wednesday night.
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