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9 gunmen attacked ex-lawmaker, probers say

/ 06:10 AM May 17, 2018

A government van is examined by police at Capas village in Agoo, La Union, where former Rep. Eufranio Eriguel was killed. —RICHARD BALONGLONG

DAGUPAN CITY — It took nine men armed with automatic weapons to assassinate former La Union Rep. Eufranio Eriguel, according to a special group investigating the May 12 attack in Agoo town, that also killed the official’s two aides and wounded eight people.

Spent shells recovered from the crime scene at Barangay Capas in Agoo, indicated that the armed men used six M16 rifles, a .45-caliber pistol, a 9mm handgun and an M14 rifle.

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Eriguel was addressing a campaign caucus for candidates in the May 14 barangay and Sangguniang Kabataan elections in Capas, when the gunmen jumped from two vehicles and opened fire.

CCTV footage

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On Wednesday, one of the wounded, Patrick Manabat, died in a hospital, according to Supt. Marlon Paiste, Ilocos regional police spokesperson.

Investigators had been studying footage from closed-circuit television (CCTV) cameras in the crime scene to identify the gunmen, following the arrest of a suspected accomplice, Felizardo Villanueva, 67, a losing candidate for village chief at Barangay Capas. Villanueva has been charged with murder.

“There could be more attackers who did not fire their guns,” Paiste said, adding that they fled in a sport utility vehicle, a van and three motorcycles. “It was a well planned attack,” he said.

Text messages

Villanueva, a former Capas village chief and president of the Agoo Liga ng mga Barangay Federation, was detained when his mobile phone revealed text messages that pinpointed the location of the former lawmaker before he was killed.

Villanueva lost to his third cousin and incumbent Capas village chief, Danilo Villanueva, who was reportedly supported by the Eriguels.

On Monday, the Eriguel family said the attack was politically motivated.

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Paiste said no prominent La Union residents have cropped up in the course of the investigation. Gabriel Cardinoza

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TAGS: Eufranio Eriguel. Felizardo Villanueva, slain ex-lawmaker
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