Pagudpud gunfight kills 2

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(UPDATED) Pagudpud is an election hot spot

POLITICAL HEAT. Supporters of two mayoral candidates for Pagudpud, Ilocos Norte shot at each other on the morning of May 7.

MANILA, Philippines (6TH UPDATE) – The resort town of Pagudpud, Ilocos Norte, in the northernmost part of Luzon turned on the political heat when the supporters of both mayoral candidates fired at each other while in their respective vans Tuesday morning, May 7.

According to Police Superintendent Jeffrey Gorospe, PIO and Chief of Ilocos Norte PNP’s PCR, Roger Ragasa and Ryan Calventas were killed as a result of the gunfight. (Editor’s note: We earlier reported that the gunfight killed at least 3 people. We regret the error and have amended the report with the latest information.)

Additional details from Dr. Noel Castillo of Bangui District Hospital indicate that two were injured: Remedios Asuncion, who is in critical condition and is confined in Gov. Roque Ablan, Sr Hospital, and Wilson Laguansa, who was treated at Bangui District Hospital.

Supt. Gorospe added points from their investigation, noting that the two vans on the road were both on the wrong lane. One was a grey Toyota Grandia, with plate no. MJA 44, decorated with posters of Maja Sales. Ryan Calventas, Haresh Jesual, and an unnamed driver were identified as passengers of the Grandia. The other was a white mitsubishi L300, with plate number CMM 250. The L300 carried Roger Ragasa, Wilson Laguansa, and an unidentified passenger.

Ilocos Norte Gov Imee Marcos released a statement right after the incident saying that he deeply condemns the incident and will take necessary steps to restore peace in the area.

Governor Marcos assured that peacekeepers are scheduled to arrive in Ilocos and meet with local government to prevent further political violence; among mentioned are regional director Marquez of Camp Crame, provincial director Sr Supt Ricardo De La Paz, regional social operations group and the army.

The PNP responded to contain the incident but no findings are released regarding who initiated the gunfight.

Due to the incident, Gorospe also added that the PNP decided to send additional police and military officials to Pagudpud on May 8.

Pagudpud was declared a hot spot due to the intense rivalry for the mayoral post of the incumbent, Maja Henson-Sales (United Nationalist Aliiance), and Vice Mayor Marlon Sales Jr. of the Liberal Party (LP). Maja Henson-Sales is the sister-in-law of Marlon, a former mayor here, as she is married to Reynolan Sales (UNA) who is running for vice-mayor.

Marlon Sales is allied with Governor Marcos.

Maja also survived an ambush in June 2010 after winning the mayoral elections against Emilen Garvida-Sales who happens to be the wife of Marlon and Imee Benemerito-Llanes.

Last May 2, another Ilocos Norte town — Pinili — was also witness to violence when re-electionist Vice Mayor Rommel Labasan fired his gun at a wake in Barangay Bungro. Senior Insp Artemio Clemente said that Labasan also reportedly punched Noli Butay, a coordinator for his rival in the elections, Junjun Barlahan. with reports from Faye Sales/

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