Police, Marines hunt down killer of town councilor

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SOUTH UPI, Maguindanao: Police and Marine troopers are now hunting down two men believed to be behind the murder of a reelected town councilor here, the second elected official killed by gunmen in the province since the May 9 elections.

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Chief Insp. Roel Villarin, South Upi police chief, identified the victim as incumbent town Councilor Warlito Pinuela, 52, of Barangay Timanan.

Police said Pinuela, a former police officer before joining local politics, was standing in front of his home in Barangay Timanan when two men riding on a motorbike arrived, and without provocation, opened fire on the reelected official at about 8 p.m. on Friday.

Pinuela died from multiple gunshot wounds in various parts of his body. The suspects fled on the same motorbike.

Pinuela was reelected to his third term in the May 9 local polls. Responding cops recovered empty shells for a caliber .45 pistol.

Requesting anonymity, his relatives claimed he has been receiving death threats from still unidentified men after his reelection.

They were convinced his death was election-related. He belonged to the ruling Liberal Party.

About a week ago, two farmers were separately killed in the villages of Bongo and Kigan, also in South Upi. Both were campaigners of one of the mayoral candidates in the town.

On May 16, unidentified gunmen killed Tito Balinto, Barangay Kigan chairperson and his aide, only identified as Sambren.

On May 2, unidentified armed men ambushed another village official of South Upi, killing him on the spot along with two of his aides.

PNA

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