LIST: Ambush and local politics

MANILA, Philippines – The ambush of Villaba Vice Mayor Claudio Martin Larrazabal on November 17 is the latest incident of violence involving politicians in the country.

Larrazabal was ambushed by unidentified men near the restaurant he owns. He was brought to a hospital in the town, then transferred to the Ormoc Sugarcane Planters Association-Farmers Medical Center where he was declared dead on arrival.

The ambush happened a year and a half after the 2013 midyear elections, where Larrazabal ran for office and won.

Before him, other local politicians also got involved in related violent incidents just months after the May 2013 elections.

2013

August 6: Alaminos, Laguna Councilor Lino Zuniga

Zuniga and his companion were wounded after unidentified men fired at their vehicle just as they left a derby fight. Two of their companions were killed.

Zuniga, who was seated on the front passenger seat, suffered gunshot wounds on his leg and arm.

December 2: South Upi, Maguindanao Vice Mayor Remegio Sioson

Sioson escaped unharmed after unidentified armed men ambushed his convoy.

Sioson and his security escort were headed home from Cotabato City when they were ambushed. His driver was injured but still managed to drive.

Sioson believes the ambush was a case of mistaken identity.

December 20: Labangan, Zamboanga del Sur Mayor Ukol Talumpa

The mayor, his family and security aides arrived at NAIA-3 from Zamboanga City and went straight to their waiting vehicle near the Arrival Bay 2, where they were ambushed by 2 men aboard a motorcycle.

Talumpa had been the target of 2 previous attacks.

2014

February 28: Maitum, Sarangani Mayor George Mc Person Perrett

Perrett died several hours after an ambush while on his way home from a village festivities. He sustained a lone gunshot wound in the leg, but died of cardiac arrest due to severe loss of blood.

At the time of the ambush, the mayor did not have his security details and was the one driving the car. He was in stable condition when brought the hospital, but his condition deteriorated after continuous bleeding and sudden drop in blood pressure.

April 21: Gonzaga, Cagayan Mayor Carlito Pentecostes Jr.

Pentecostes was killed when about 15 armed men attacked the municipal town hall while they were holding a flag raising ceremony. Police engaged the armed men in a firefight but the latter escaped after killing the mayor.

Mining operations in the town may be the motive behind the mayor's killing, as the armed men allegedly left behind anti-mining leaflets at the municipal hall grounds after the shooting incident.

May 28: Laak, Compostela Valley Mayor Rey Navarro

Navarro was traveling on a major highway when unknown assailants opened fire at his vehicle, instantly killing him. He was declared dead on arrival at the Tagum Doctors Hospital.

The New People's Army (NPA) earlier accused Navarro as one of the leaders of the "Big 4 logging lords" in the province. It was reported that Navarro and his alleged accomplices were warned that the NPA will take action if they continued with their logging activities.

July 2: Impasug-ong, Bukidnon Mayor Mario Okinlay

Okinlay sustained gunshot wounds after armed men attacked his convoy while on its way to the town proper after a medical mission. He was brought to the Polymedic Hospital in Malaybalay City, but was declared dead by the attending physician.

Days after the ambush, the New People's Army (NPA) took responsibility for it, saying it was carried out in the name of "revolutionary justice."

August 21: Opol, Misamis Oriental Councilor Cecelio Abuhan

Abuhan was on his way home when he was shot by armed assailants. He died on the spot after sustaining bullet wounds in various parts of his body.

NPA has claimed responsibility for the killing, saying Abuhan was targeted because of his alleged abuses against communities and his active role in the counter-insurgency drive in the province. The group accused him of the murder of two people whom he did not name, involvement with cattle rustlers, and allegedly collecting money from mining and logging operations.

– Rappler.com