TWO local government officials, one an incumbent mayor of a Batangas town and another a former vice governor of Abra, were assassinated in separate shooting incidents in Batangas and Marikina City on Saturday morning.
Mayor Leovino Hidalgo of Balete, Batangas was watching a basketball game sponsored by the municipal government at about 10:30 a.m. when the gunman entered the basketball court and shot Hidalgo once in the head, fleeing afterwards on board a white van.
Hidalgo was declared dead-on-arrival at the Metro Lipa Medical Center in Lipa City.
The shooting happened at the basketball court near the town’s police station in Barangay Poblacion.
The Manila Times learned that the mayor was without a security escort when the killing took place.
Recovered from the crime scene was a deformed slug of suspected caliber M-16 rifle.
Batangas Police Director, Senior Supt. Randy Petalta, immediately activated Oplan Kalasag to pursue the gunman, and a Special Investigation Task Group (SITG) will be formed to assist in the investigation.
Hidalgo is on his third term as Balete mayor.
Meanwhile, former vice governor of Abra, Rolando Somera, was gunned down by an unknown assailant in Marikina City.
Initial investigation showed that Somera just left a cockfight arena in Barangay San Roque at about 1 a.m., when a lone gunman appeared and fired shots at him.
Police said two other unidentified persons died in the shooting incident.
WITH EARL FRANCIS CUETO