Ex-Nueva Ecija solon behind killings, not me, says Guv Umali
Nueva Ecija Gov. Aurelio Umali revealed it was gubernatorial aspirant, former 4th District Rep. Rodolfo Antonino, who is behind the alleged political killings in the province.
Umali pointed out that President Aquino appointed him chair of the Regional Peace and Order Council in Central Luzon because he has no known record of involvement in political violence.
In an article in Nueva Ecija Journal, Umali revealed it was Antonino who had been involved in high-profile political violence, particularly after the 1988 and 2007 elections.
He recounted the 1998 incident when Antonino lost to Nicanor de Guzman, Jr. in the congressional elections. He said Antonino and his men stormed de Guzman’s home in Gapan City, claiming that he was cheated.
In another incident before the 2007 elections, Umali said Antonino’s men assaulted the compound of his then congressional rival Jose Gay Padiernos and fired at the latter’s supporters.
In yet another incident in 2008, Umali said Antonino’s security escorts shot it out with a group of supporters of former Jaen Mayor Antonio Esquivel in Jaen, killing four, including a policeman, and wounding 12 others, among them Esquivel’s two sons.
“That incident prompted the Commission on Elections to place the province under its control,” the last-termer governor stressed.
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 Umali.
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.
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