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Nueva Ecija gubernatorial aspirant bares ‘disturbing pattern’ of murders in the province

Jul 31, 2015 @ 2:10

Former Nueva Ecija 4th District Rep. Rodolfo Antonino has expressed alarm over what he claimed as an upsurge of “politically motivated” murders in the province, all of whom, he said, are opponents of incumbent governor, Aurelio Umali.

Over the past several months, Antonino claimed there have been 15 shootings, killing nine persons, mostly his allies and political leaders.

“There is a disturbing pattern of murders and we are witnessing here the unfolding of a political reign of terror in our midst,” Antonino was quoted as saying by the Philippine Star.

The former lawmaker is running for governor against Umali’s wife, outgoing 3rd District Rep. Czarina Umali, in the 2016 elections.

Antonino bared the string of political killings started shortly after the May 2013 elections and escalated in recent months. He said five officials have been gunned down this year alone.

Among the victims of 15 shootings were barangay chairmen, three municipal councilors, a municipal accountant and a village councilor, he added.

The attacks, according to Antonino, took place in Gapan, Cabanatuan, Aliaga, Cabiao, Llanera, Peñaranda, San Antonio, San Leonardo and Jaen.

The former lawmaker even went on to identify the victims as Romeo Linsangan and Mario Trillana and municipal accountant Noel Gamboa, all of Cabiao; Nick Apan of Llanera; Rodrigo Miranda of Aliaga; Rodante Garcia and Antonio de Sahagun of San Leonardo; Herminigildo Eduardo of Jaen and Roger Pascual of Cabanatuan City.

Antonino said gun and grenade attacks were also carried out against his other allies, whom he said were known enemies of the governor.

Among those who were lucky to survive were Linsangan’s successor Rogelio Cunanan, Gapan Councilor Danilo de Guzman, San Antonio municipal coordinator Erlinda Reyes, Arsenio Santos of Jaen and Councilors Armando Abiog and Wilfredo Abesamis of Peñaranda.

Antonino said Cunanan has transferred to the camp of Umali, possibly fearing a reprisal.

He said the attacks against Abiog and Abesamis occurred after they bolted the camp of Umali’s ally, Mayor Ferdinand Abesamis, to join Vice Mayor Fermin Francisco, who is preparing to challenge the mayor’s reelection bid.

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