Former Pangasinan governor Amado Espino Jr ambushed
MANILA, Philippines (4th UPDATE) – Former Pangasinan governor Amado Espino Jr was ambushed on Wednesday afternoon, September 11.
Police reported that Espino was aboard his Toyota Land Cruiser, backed up by aides aboard a Toyota Innova, passing through Barangay Magtaking in San Carlos City, Pangasinan, when they were sprayed with bullets by gunmen aboard a red Hyundai hatchback and a metallic blue Ford Everest.
Espino was with his aides Agapito Quizon, Kervin Marbori, and their driver and police security escort Staff Sergeant Jayon Malsi. In the backup car were Police Staff Sergeant Richard Esguerra and its driver, retired policeman Anthony Columbino.
Esguerra was killed on the spot, while the rest, along with former governor Espino, 71, was rushed to the Holy Blessed Family Hospital for treatment.
The suspects then fled towards Malasiqui town in Pangasinan. Cops have ordered dragnet operations across the province to track down the suspects.
They have yet to pin down a motive for the attack.
Senator Richard Gordon said in a tweet that all 5 bodyguards of Espino were reportedly killed in the ambush, as they tried to shield the former lawmaker.
Gordon also said that Espino was "fighting for his life."
"We just learned that former governor and Cong. of Pangasinan Amado Espino, Jr. has just been ambushed and is now fighting for his life in a hospital in Pangasinan. All 5 of his bodyguards heroically shielded Espino with their bodies and they all perished," Gordon said.
Malacañang said in statement late Thursday morning, September 12, that only one of Espino's bodyguards died on the spot while the rest "survived the armed attack and are now recovering."
"We condemn this felonious act as we believe that any unjustified killing has no place in a civilized society like ours. We guarantee that police authorities are already on top of the situation and will spare no effort in finding the perpatrators of this crime and ascertaining their motive for consummating the same," said Presidential Spokesman Salvador Panelo.
Espino was among the officials who were erroneously included in President Rodrigo Duterte's drug matrix of those allegedly linked to the drug trade in the New Bilibid Prison and Senator Leila de Lima, in September 2016. Espino was Pangasinan 5th District representative then.
Duterte issued a public apology to Espino for the error, admitting that he was "negligent in counterchecking" a drug matrix he had released to the public.
Espino ran for reelection as Pangasinan congressman in May 2019 but lost. His son, Amado Espino III, is Pangasinan governor. – Rappler.com