Politics, business eyed as motives in La Union mayor Buquing's slay

MANILA, Philippines – The Philippine National Police (PNP) is looking at politics and business grudge as the main motivations for the killing of Sudipen, La Union, Mayor Alexander "Alan" Buquing.

This was confirmed to Rappler in a phone interview on Tuesday, October 2, with Chief Inspector Silverio Ordinado, the spokesman of the newly-formed Special Investigation Task Group to investigate the 50-year-old mayor's killing.

"Kakatapos lang po ng first meeting at tinitingnan ang political at negosyo," Ordinado said when asked about the motive to the ambush. (Our first meeting just finished, and we are looking at political and business motives.)

Why those motives? Ordinado pointed out first that the filing of certificates of candidacy for the 2019 polls is approaching, and that Buquing had an intense political battle in the last polls.

In 2016, Buquing grabbed the mayoral post with a lead of only 1,200 votes over his rival Catalina Leonen Pizarro. Buquing ran under the then-ruling Liberal Party, while Pizarro joined the ticket of the National Unity Party.

As for business, Ordinado disclosed that Buquing was a big-time local Pepsi distributor in La Union. He managed a warehouse in Sudipen and distributed the soft drinks to northern La Union.

Investigators' next steps: Despite the leads, Ordinado said they still have no suspects or even persons of interest for the assassination, as the task force has just been formed.

The SITG, he said, would first like to speak to his wife, Vice Mayor Wendy Joy Buquing – the lone survivor in the ambush – to get some leads on the attack.

Police earlier said Vice Mayor Buquing survived because her husband shielded her from the bullets. She is confined at the Lorma Medical Center in San Fernando City in La Union.

Mayor Buquing is the 12th mayor to be killed in the Philippines since President Rodrigo Duterte assumed office in July 2016. – Rappler.com

Rambo Talabong

Rambo Talabong covers security, crime, and the city of Manila for Rappler. He was chosen as a Jaime V. Ongpin Fellow in 2019 for his reporting on President Rodrigo Duterte’s war on drugs.