THREE people were killed, including a village chieftain and a policeman, while five others were wounded after a group of unidentified armed men ambushed the supporters of a mayoralty candidate in Jones town, Isabela on Saturday.
Police and military reports said ambushed were supporters of Melanie Uy, who is running for mayor under the Liberal Party (LP) in Jones, along the national highway in Barangay Namnama in Jones Town at about 7:40 a.m.
Killed was Danny Zapata, chairman of Barangay 1 in Jones town and reportedly the brother of Uy. The other fatalities were Senior Police Officer (SPO) 4 Arthur Asuncion, and one identified only as Erick, a Bulacan native who was a member of the local LP’s security detail.
Three of the five wounded victims remain in critical condition at Prospero G. Bello Integrated Community Hospital as of Saturday. The others suffered minor injuries.
Police said the victims were on their way to the village of Namnama when at least 15 armed men fired assault rifles on their convoy of vehicles.
The report added that the slain policeman tried to retreat across some rice fields but was chased and shot to death by the gunmen.
The same report from the military’s Northern Luzon Command (Nolcom) said that the fleeing gunmen was later cornered along Barangay San Sebastian in Jones town by pursuing government troops. A firefight was raging as of the filing of this report on Saturday afternoon.
The ambush took place on the last day of the campaign season, before Monday’s elections, and weeks after the deaths of Jones Vice Mayor Ronaldo Lucas and village chieftain Heinrich Apostol in April.
Lucas was killed by the New People’s Army on April 13, while Apostol, who was running for the Sangguniang Bayan (SB) of Jones, was shot dead the following day by unidentified gunmen while outside his house. Both belonged to the Nationalist People’s Coalition under Mayor Leticia Sebastian.
Jones town was recently placed under the control of the Commission on Elections following incidents of violence considered election-related.