by Leilanie Adriano, VERA Files
MARCOS, Ilocos Norte—Motorcycle riding gunmen shot the mayor of this town as he was inspecting a construction project in front of the Marcos Agro-industrial School here around 5 p.m. Monday.
Mayor Salvador Pillos survived the attack, sustaining no more than bullet scrapes in his arm and foot, and was treated at the nearby Dingras hospital, the police said.
Policemen are now conducting pursuit operations against the suspects who immediately fled towards a mountainous part of Marcos town.
Pillos is seeking re-election, and is running against Arsenio Agustin, a political neophyte and a businessman who used to be based in the U.S.
Minutes after the attack, police recovered the getaway motorcycle used by men riding in tandem, a few kilometers from the shooting incident.
The attempt on Pillos is the ninth shooting incident recorded by the Philippine National Police since January in Ilocos Norte, and the first one involving a politician.
Motorcycle-riding men in tandem were behind five of the shooting incidents, only one of which was deemed solved by the police.
Acting provincial director Senior Superintendent Gerardo Ratuita of the Ilocos Norte Police Provincial Office said they are looking deeper into the motives to determine if goons for hire committed these crimes.
He added they might consider giving the mayor police security should the Commission on Elections (Comelec) consider his request for escorts.
The PNP reported that as of today they are considering at least four towns and the capital city of Laoag as among areas of election concern. The towns include
Pagudpud, Pasuquin, Dingras, Sarrat.
Police said they may also include the towns of Badoc, Pinili, Solsona and just recently, the town of Marcos, a fourth class municipality in the second district of Ilocos Norte.
Marcos had a total of 10,457 registered voters in the 2010 elections. In 2004 unidentified men assassinated Marcos Mayor Rogelio Pambid. His killing remains unsolved.
(VERA Files is published by veteran Filipino journalists taking a deeper look into current Philippine issues. Vera is Latin for “true.”)