4 dead as alleged vote-buying triggers shooting in Ilocos Sur

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Allegations of vote-buying reportedly triggered a shooting incident that left four dead in Magsingal, Ilocos Sur on Saturday morning.

Charges will be filed against the two groups composed of supporters of rival mayoral candidates, according to a press briefing at the provincial capitol on Sunday attended by Ilocos Sur Governor Ryan Luis Singson, Ilocos Sur Police Provincial Director Col. Wilson Doromal, and Ilocos Sur provincial election supervisor Alipio Castillo.

Six supporters of mayoral candidate Alrico Favis — Guillermo Unciano, Agustin Unciano, Dante Tolentino, Archie Garcia, Menelio Oliver Jr, all of Barangay Patong; and Albert Bańez of Barangay San Ramon — will face murder and frustrated murder charges, while two supporters of rival candidate Lorry Salvador Jr., identified as Teofilo Taasin, 39, of Barangay Maratudo, and Kenneth Salvador, 40, of Barangay Napo, will be slapped with frustrated murder charges.

Initial police investigation showed that the incident stemmed from an alleged vote-buying activity that went out of control.

Investigators said that a group backing Salvador went to Barangay Labut to verify an alleged vote-buying activity and were confronted by supporters of Favis, husband of outgoing mayor Victoria Ina Favis who has slid to vice mayor.

Police identified the casualties as Lerry Torda, 41, of Barangay Maratudo; Recto Bagani, 65, of Manabo, Abra; Jovito Tomaneng, 61, of Dingras, Ilocos Norte, a retired member of the Philippine Army; and William Bulil-lit, 61, former chief of Barangay Barbaquezo in Carasi, Ilocos Norte and former Citizen Armed Forced Geographical Unit member.

Teofilo Taasin, 39, of Barangay Maratudo; suspects Kenneth Salvador and Bańez, who is Favis’ driver; and Romnick Villanueva, 25, of Barangay Patong were wounded.

Arrested from the Favis camp for possession of .45 caliber pistol and ammunition were Minelio Oliver, 38, self-employed; and village watchman Eddie Unzo, 37, both of Barangay Patong.

Doromal said additional police force and members of the Philippine Army are deployed in the area.

Meanwhile, Castillo said there is no need to put the town under Comelec control after being assured by authorities that all measures will be applied to prevent a similar incident.

“Ultimately, our objective is to have free election where voters are not afraid to go out and vote,” Castillo said.

Source: Philippines News Agency

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