THREE days before the country’s synchronized elections, an incumbent councilor in Tanauan City, Batangas was killed while in a meeting with his constituents on Friday evening in a village. His security aide was wounded in the attack.
Batangas Provincial Director, Senior Supt. Archie Ronquillo, said lawyer Epimaco Magpantay, 64, a member of the Sangguniang Panglunsod (SP), sustained gunshot wounds in the body and was declared dead on arrival at the Daniel Mercado Medical Center in Tanauan.
His driver who is also his security aide – Joel Garcia, 42 – was seriously wounded.
The police report said that while Magpantay was having a meeting with tricycle drivers in Barangay Darasa at about 8:15 p.m., an unidentified suspect wearing a helmet and a black jacket opened fire hitting the victim several times.
The suspect immediately escaped on board a waiting motorcycle driven by an unidentified driver, and fled towards Barangay Banjo East.
Police recovered six empty shells of an unknown caliber of firearm from the crime scene.
Tanauan City is one of the places in Batangas listed as Election Watchlist Areas (EWAs), including the towns of Mataas na Kahoy, Mabini, Santa Teresita, and Laurel. Other areas in Region 4A under EWAs are Alaminos and San Pablo City in Laguna, and Taytay City in Rizal.
Meanwhile, a leader of a potential private armed group (PAG) in Tanauan City was arrested along with a village chairman, a member of the Mayor Anti-Crime (MAC) Group and a civilian guard in Santo Tomas town.
Ronquillo identified the arrested suspects led by Allan Fajardo, of the known Fajardo PAG, who is the chief of Civil Security Unit (CSU) and head of MAC Group of Tanauan.
Also nabbed were Renato Mercado, a member of MAC Group of Bagumbayan, Tanauan City; Delio Opulencia, brother-in-law of Allan; Polmark Fajardo, village chieftain of Barangay Suplang, Tanauan City and ABC President of Tanauan City; and John Markie Molina, a civilian guard.
They were arrested in San Antonio Heights, San Rafael Estate, Barangay San Antonio, in Santo Tomas town by a composite team of the Batangas Police Provincial Intelligence Branch, SWAT teams from Lipa City Police Station and Batangas City Police Station, and the Provincial Public Safety Company led by Supt. Jacinto Malinao.
Confiscated from Fajardo were several weapons, including seven pistols; two hand guns; a shotgun; a submachine gun; three rifles; assorted bullets and magazines of different calibers.
No weapon was found in Polmark’s possession, while seized from Opulencia were a caliber .45 pistol and a rifle.