Palace hints on political motive behind Sudipen mayor’s murder

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MALACAÑANG ON Tuesday promised a quick resolution on the killing of Sudipen, La Union Mayor Alexander O. Buquing, which Presidential Spokesperson Harry L. Roque, Jr. said could be politically motivated with election season just around the corner.

“We condemn it and we commit to conduct a fast investigation to uncover the individuals behind this latest attack,” Mr. Roque said in a press briefing at the Palace.

“You know, it’s political season,” he said in Filipino, qualifying that such a period does not in any way justify the crime.

The mid-term elections is set May 2019, with the filing of certificates of candidacies scheduled to start next week, Oct. 11, to the 18th.

He added, “So ang katotohanan niyan, ang solusyon diyan is dapat maparusahan lahat ng mga pumapatay para maibalik ang takot sa puso at sa isipan ng mga pumapatay sa lipunan (The truth is, the solution is that all culprits should be punished so that we can bring back fear in the hearts and minds of of those who kill).”

Meanwhile, opposition Senator Paolo Benigno A. Aquino IV, in a statement, said the killing of high-ranking local government officials puts into question the government’s capability to protect ordinary citizens.

Ngayong pati sa city hall mismo pinapatay ang matataas na opisyal ng gobyerno, mahalagang malaman natin kung kaya pa ba ng pamahalaan na protektahan ang mga ordinaryong Pilipino.”

Mr. Aquino has filed Senate Resolution No. 901, calling on the committee on public order and dangerous drugs to look into the killings of local officials “that have caused grave concern, fear, insecurity, and distress in the general populace.”

Mr. Aquino noted similar recent crimes such as the July 2, 2018 murder of Mayor Antonio Halili of Tanauan City, Batangas during a regular flag-raising ceremony; Mayor Ferdinand Bote of General Tinio, Nueva Ecija, who was killed in an ambush in Cabanatuan City on July 3; Vice Mayor Alexander Lubigan of Trece Martires, Cavite on July 7; Vice Mayor Al-Rashid Mohammad Ali of Sapa-Sapa, Tawi-Tawi on July 11; Ronda, Cebu Mayor Mariano Blanco III, who was shot dead inside his own office on Sept. 5; and Carmencita Navarro on Sept. 15, who was expected to run as Bislig City mayor, a position currently held by her husband, Mayor Librado Navarro. — Arjay L. Balinbin