Negros Occidental officials offer P2-M reward for killers of town councilor

Marchel P. Espina

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Negros Occidental officials offer P2-M reward for killers of town councilor
(UPDATED) Negros Occidental Governor Alfredo Marañon Jr says he would recommend placing Moises Padilla town under Comelec control

NEGROS OCCIDENTAL, Philippines (UPDATED) – Top officials of this province have offered a P2-million million reward to anyone who can provide information that can lead to the arrest of the killers of a Moises Padilla town councilor and his uncle. 

Governor Alfredo Marañon Jr  announced his P1-million reward offer on Thursday, April 25, which was matched by 3rd District Representative Alfredo Benitez on Friday, April 26.

The governor, along with former 4th District representative Jeffrey Ferrer, went to Moises Padilla on Thursday, April 25, to check on Vice Mayor Ella Celestina Garcia Yulo following the killing  of her brother Mark Garcia and her nephew Moises Padilla Councilor Michael Garcia.

“This is too much,” Marañon said, as he strongly condemned the killings and called on President Rodrigo Duterte to help capture the suspects. 

The Garcia family was expected to file murder charges against the suspects before the Provincial Prosecutor’s Office in Bacolod City on Friday.

LOOK. Moises Padilla Councilor Agustin Grande (in blue stripes) and Joe Cesar (right), a member of the Barangay Peacekeeping Action Team, are going through inquest at the Provincial Prosecutor's Office in Bacolod City. They will be charged with double murder for the ambush of Moises Padilla reelectionist Councilor Michael Garcia and his uncle, Mark Garcia. Photo by Marchel Espina/Rappler

On Thursday, Marañon said he would recommend placing the town under the control of the  Commission on Elections (Comelec).

The poll body earlier declared the town as an area of immediate concern under red category due to election-related violence and intense political rivalry. 

Yulo slammed the Comelec provincial office for not immediately putting the town under its control after Moises Padilla Councilor Jolomar Hilario was killed in his home on March 31, allegedly perpetrated by the rebels.

“If they put it under Comelec control right away, there will be no more deaths. Are they waiting for more deaths?” asked Yulo, who is running against reelectionist Mayor Magdaleno Peña in the May 13 elections. 

She also called on her constituents to not be afraid come election day.  “If indi sila mag vote, indi na di ka gwa ang yawa di. Dapat pagwaon sila (If they will not vote, the demon will stay. We have to let them out),” she said. 

Brigadier General Benedict Arevalo, commander of the Philippine Army 303rd Infantry Brigade, said it was unfortunate that the councilor and his uncle were killed. 

He said the police were conducting an investigation while the military would deploy more troops to the area to deter similar incidents. 

The Vice Mayor was in a campaign convoy with her two family members when some 20 armed men attacked them. She was able to escape after her brother and nephew sacrificed their lives so she could hide in the nearby houses. (READ: Negros Occidental town vice mayor says she was target of ambush)

They had just come from a campaign sortie in Barangay Inolingan when they spotted some men in jackets and bonnets, which prompted them to leave the area.

Yulo was recently released from jail after she and her husband posted bail for charges of illegal possession of explosive. The couple was arrested in December 2017 at a police checkpoint for alleged possession of firearms, explosives, and drugs, which the Yulos denied.  –

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