La Union Rep Eriguel says husband’s murder ‘politically motivated’
MANILA, Philippines – La Union 2nd District Representative Sandra Eriguel said the shooting of her late husband was “politically motivated,” with rivals determined to kick her family out of politics for good.
On Monday, May 28, Sandra got emotional as she delivered her privilege speech on the killing of her husband and ex-La Union lawmaker Eufranio “Franny” Eriguel.
Franny was gunned down by unidentified men during a miting de avance held at Barangay Capas in Agoo town two weeks ago. Franny and two of his civilian bodyguards were declared dead on arrival, while another one of his companions died 3 days later.
“Congressman Franny’s murder is politically motivated. There is no other angle but politics,” said Sandra, who had succeeded her husband as La Union 2nd District representative. Their daughter Stephanie is the mayor of Agoo.
According to Sandra, her husband sustained 8 gunshot wounds on his head, chest, arm, and leg.
Without identifying names, Sandra said their political opponents “will do anything” to take them out of office.
She also pinned the blame on Philippine National Police (PNP) Region 1 director Chief Superintendent Romulo Sapitula, who had ordered to pull out the Eriguels’ police escorts days before Franny’s death.
Sandra said her husband had personally pleaded to ex-La Union provincial director Police Senior Superintendent Genera Sapiera not to remove their escorts, but the latter insisted he had orders coming from Sapitula.
Sandra said ex-Agoo chief of police Alfredo Padilla Jr also did not heed Barangay Capas’ request for security assistance during the miting de avance.
“Mister Speaker, let me state that I firmly believe that if it were not for the orders of regional director Sapitula to pull out our police security detail and the ineptness of former Agoo chief of police Padilla for failing to act on the letter of Barangay Capas for security assistance, the shooting incident may have been prevented and that my husband could have been alive today,” said Sandra.
Sapiera and Padilla have already been sacked as the PNP investigates if the two ex-police chiefs had lapses in preventing the high-profile murder.
Sapitula, however, remains as regional police director.
PNP chief Director General Oscar Albayalde said they have already arrested Capas, Agoo barangay captain candidate Felizardo Villanueva, a suspect in Franny’s murder.
‘They killed Franny’
Sandra herself was present during the miting de avance where her husband died on May 18. The lawmaker, however, stayed insider her car at the time to avoid being accused of electioneering.
She recalled seeing 3 motorcycles and two vehicles pass by the covered court while Franny was delivering his speech. Sandra said the vehicles then “strategically parked” at each end of the court. Then the gunfire began.
Sandra said she immediately called Sapiera to inform him shots were fired at the venue.
“But as everyone was running away from the scene, I expected Franny to stand up, but he did not. I then got out of the car to check on him and I saw a scene that I never thought I would see: I saw my husband lying on the pavement, bloodied and lifeless. They killed Franny,” said Sandra, her voice breaking.
She had called her companions then to help carry Franny's body into their car. While on the way to the hospital, Sandra said their car was also being shot at. They survived because the vehicle was bullet-proof.
In her speech, the lawmaker also said Franny was never involved in drugs. Sandra’s husband was in President Rodrigo Duterte’s list of alleged narco-politicians.
“He was never involved in drugs despite what his detractors would lead us to believe. He was a doctor, a principled man, who like many of you, did all his power to eradicate drugs in our community. He believed drug destroyed futures, destroyed families,” said Sandra.
She then called on the PNP and the National Bureau of Investigation to “fast track” their probes and “unmask the perpetrators, including the mastermind” of her husband’s murder.
“As long as they remain unidentified, my life and the life of my children will always be at risk,” said Sandra. – Rappler.com