Tension escalates over Abra killings

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TENSION is building up in Abra following the spate of killings in the province the past two months prompting the police to heighten measures to neutralize what they call election related crimes.

Abra police director Senior Supt. Antonio Bartolome said they have put in place preventive actions to avert escalation of crime incidents as investigation is hastened on the two recent ambuscades that happened in a span of four days.

Last November Abra police recorded about six politically motivated murder cases, adding that crime incidents of the same nature have been recorded since September.

The recent assassinations victimized two local political leaders of the towns Dolores and Las Paz.


On Thursday morning, Sammy Tadong, father of a village chairman in Dolores, was gunned down by armed motorcycle riding men along sitio Nangaykayan, Zone 7 in Bangued.

Tandong is said to have political influence in the town.

Dolores town Mayor Roberto Seares Jr., condemned the murder adding that he hopes the motive is not political “or else this (incident) will escalate.”

In earlier incident, 61-year-old Noel Belena, political aide and private secretary of La Paz Mayor Joseph Sto Niño Bernos.

Bartolome said they are deep into probing Belena’s killing, particularly the brains behind it when Tandong was ambushed.

The Belena family is a prominent clan in La Paz. The slain leader left a lawyer son, a law student and another a medical student.

Bernos blamed dirty politics behind Belena’s shooting but confident that the police will solve the case soon even as he decried the apparent snail-pace of the investigation.

“If this case is not solved, it will make a huge dent in the efforts for peace in the province,” he said.

Serving his last term as mayor, Bernos is running for the lone congressional district of the province. He is facing three other bets – San Juan Mayor Marco Bautista (LP), former Rep. Cecille Seares-Luna (Lakas) and physician Rogelio Bringas.

La Paz is adjacent to Bangued, Abra’s capital and political center.

Abra is one of the few provinces being considered by the police to be placed under Comelec control or area of concern for the 2016 polls.

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