By Cet Dematera (The Philippine Star) Updated January 07, 2010 12:00 AM
LEGAZPI CITY , Philippines – A retired police officer running for councilor in Casiguran, Sorsogon under the Nacionalista Party (NP) was gunned down on a bridge near the town’s public market before dawn Tuesday, police said.
Quoting reports, Senior Superintendent Eleazar Bron, Bicol police spokesman, said SPO2 Julio “Bimbo” Esquivias, 48, a retired member of the 509th Provincial Police Mobile Group, was attacked at close range by a lone gunman, killing him on the spot with six bullet wounds.
Esquivias was the third NP candidate slain since Dec. 28, when barangay chairwoman Jo-en Caniete-Diego, a councilor bet in Dingras, Ilocos Norte, was killed in an ambush, which also left other local NP candidates wounded.
On Dec. 29, an NP vice mayoral bet in Tagana-an, Surigao del Norte, Wilbert Origenes, was shot in his residence. He died two days later.
Edwin Hamor, former mayor of Casiguran, Sorsogon, confirmed that Esquivias had filed his certificate of candidacy for councilor of Casiguran under the NP slate of his wife, re-electionist Mayor Ester Hamor. Quoting witnesses’ accounts, Hamor, who is running for Sorsogon congressman, said Esquivias was shot while talking to his wife and friends on the bridge near the public market in Barangay Kawit, Casiguran. He said Esquivias’ wife could have been killed, too, had the retired policeman not quickly shoved her. amor said he believes that politics could be behind Esquivias’ killing, adding that the victim had topped a survey among municipal council bets that they had commissioned.
Communist rebels have denied reports that they could be behind the killing since Esquivias was a retired policeman.
“SPO2 Esquivias did not owe us and the masses blood debts for us to shoot him. As a policeman, his record to us was clean. So please discount us out in his death,” Greg Bañares, Bicol spokesman of the National Democratic Front-New People’s Army, said in Filipino in a radio interview.
Meanwhile, NP standard-bearer Sen. Manny Villar called for justice for Caniete-Diego and other slain NP bets yesterday, as he attended the wake of the barangay chairwoman in Dingras town.
During his visit, Villar swore in a relative of Caniete-Diego to replace her as NP councilor bet and promised financial assistance to her family. – With Teddy Molina
Note: Original news article can be found here.