SEVEN people who are supporters of a local mayor were killed, and one was wounded in an ambush in Rosario, Cavite hours before the start of voting for the synchronized elections yesterday.
Cavite Provincial Director, Senior Supt. Eliseo Cruz identified the victims as Amron Sharief, Fabil Magandia, Imam Omail, Imam Ebrahim, Imam Farhan, Imam Rakiin and Ramon Tuazon. One Fatar Mampon survived the attack and was taken to an undisclosed hospital in Cavite.
The victims are all Mindanaoans living in a Muslim community in Rosario.
Cruz said the victims were on board a Mitsubishi Adventure (URQ 913) and two motorcycle units when they were flagged down by a group of armed men after 12 midnight on Sunday along D. P. Jimenez Street in Barangay Wawa 3, Rosario.
Reports said that the victims were ordered by the gunmen to alight from the vehicle and kneel on the ground. From there, they were shot at close range.
Residents near the area said they heard at least 15 successive shots from the crime scene.
Rosario Mayor Nonong Ricafrente said the victims are his volunteers who were out to check on alleged vote-buying activities in the area. However, he refused to give further comment, saying that he needs to attend to his murdered supporters and their families first.
Ricafrente is running for vice mayor in this year’s polls.
Rosario was earlier declared an area of concern by the Commission on Elections (Comelec) owing to intense political rivalry among the local candidates.
Provincial Police Office (CPPO) chief, Senior Supt. Eliseo Cruz, on Monday afternoon called for a case conference, gathering all possible witnesses to the gruesome murder.
Meanwhile, the Philippine National Police (PNP) formed a Special Investigation Task Group (SITG) to look into the Cavite killings.
PNP spokesman, Chief Supt. Wilben Mayor said SITG will be headed by the Cavite Provincial Police Office (CPPO) chief, Senior Supt. Eliseo Cruz, with the Criminal Investigation and Detection Group (CIDG), Intelligence Group (IG) and the Highway Patrol Group (HPG).