BANGUED, Abra – In Abra, the Luna family may have fielded 7 of their members in various political races in the province. This political force in Abra hit a snag, however, when Ryan Luna, the incumbent mayor of the capital town of Bangued, was ordered arrested for the killing of a political rival in 2007.
Bangued Regional Trial Court (RTC) Judge Jaime Dujillo Jr. ordered the arrest warrant against Mayor Luna for shooting to death Brenda Crisologo inside the Holy Spirit Academy campus in Bangued during the Comelec ballot counting in May 2007.
The Department of Justice recommended the charge against Luna after it allowed a review on the case and learned from a witness that Luna was seen talking to the alleged gunman, Totoy Dayao, minutes before the incident. The witness then said she saw Luna point at Brenda, the wife of Tineg Mayor Edward Crisologo, and then leave. Seconds later, Brenda was shot dead.
(Crisologo has since re-married. His new wife, Corinthia, is running for mayor of Tineg.)
Police holding the warrant failed to find Mayor Luna but according to Cordillera Police Director Benjamin Magalong, he remains in touch with the mayor.
Others accused in the killing of Brenda are Lenin Benwaren, Pedro Benwaren, Tony Benwaren, Henry Lee Tan, Nober Calubing, and Jonathan Libuen.
Ryan Luna is still running for a second term as Bangued Mayor against former Mayor Dominick Valera.
The matriarch of the Luna family, former Rep. Cecilia Seares Luna (Lakas) is running as governor against incumbent Gov. Eustaquio “Takit” Bersamin. Son Hans Roger Luna is running as representative for the lone district of Abra against incumbent Rep. Joy Valera Bernos.
Her son Jendricks Luna is on his second term as mayor of Lagayan town, the clan’s bailiwick, while wife Joy Chrisma is running again as vice-mayor.
Cecilia’s other son Cromwell (NUP) is running as mayor of Tineg where the former mayor and rival Edwin Crisologo Jr. is now running as vice-mayor. Corinthia Dannang Crisologo, his daughter, as well as Cita Crisologo and Clemencio Ramirez are also running as mayor.
Tineg is the most remote town of Abra and is also the poorest, but it is the most sought-after because of its sparse population and very large area which earns it an IRA of almost P2 million a month.
In 2002, then Tineg Mayor Clarence Benwaren was shot dead inside a church in Laguna. The Benwarens accused Crisologo, then the vice-mayor, of having a hand in the assassination.
In those days, Crisologo is a lieutenant of then Abra’s political kingpin former Gov. Vicente “Vicsyd” Valera while the families in the opposition are the Lunas, Benwarens and Bernoses. When La Paz Mayor Mark Ysrael Bernos was killed in February 2006 in his hometown. It wasn’t until Abra Rep. Luis “Chito” Bersamin was shot dead in December 2006 in Quezon City and Gov. Valera was implicated in the two murders, that the Bersamins joined the opposition and the Valeras was finally toppled and Vicsyd was brought to jail.
Eustaquio Bersamin became governor in 2007 and Cecilia Luna was elected as congresswoman. Years later, the opposition again fragmented, with the Bersamins and Bernoses joining forces and the Lunas going on their own. – Rappler.com
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