BANGUED Abra (April 27, 2019) – Authorities seized late Friday afternoon assault rifles and three high powered pistols including over a hundred bullets from a campaign vehicle of an Abra town mayoralty bet late Friday afternoon.
On orders of Regional Trial Court branch 22 acting Executive Judge Gina Juan Chan in Narvacan, Ilocos Sur, policemen took out two M4 assault rifles, an M16 assault rifle, two Para Ordnance 45 caliber pistols and another STI Edge 45 caliber pistol, and over a hundred bullets for the said firearms from the Ford Ranger pick-up truck abandoned along the road by Tayum mayoralty bet Jose Mari Brillantes and his group after firing at Budac barangay chairman Walter Tugadi Tuesday morning.
Before the shooting, Brillantes and his group reportedly went into the house of Tugadi but the latter’s live-in wife Zenaida claimed she was threatened prompting her to call his live-in husband, who was heading home.
While Tugadi and his group were on their way to his house, Brillantes group, who were parked along the road, fired at Tugadi’s vehicle prompting the village chief and his group to flee.
Barangay tanod Alvin Padagas, 23, was hit with a lone gunshot wound on his right thigh.
Brillantes and his group then fled leaving behind the Ford pick-up truck, which had no plates and registered under a certain Daisy Madriaga with the assault rifles and pistols inside it, while Echave was brought to the Seares Hospital in Bangued Abra but was later discharged while Padagas is still confined at Abra Provincial Hospital (APH).
The Toyota vehicle of Tugadi’s group reportedly bore six bullet holes and crime scene probers found twenty-eight spent shells of cal. 45 and eleven spent shells of caliber 5.56 assault rifles.
Brillantes and his group, who would be facing criminal charges including illegal possession of firearms and violation of the Comelec gun ban, have not surfaced.
Disgusted, Abra governor Ma. Jocelyn Valera-Bernos, condemned the skirmish between the two groups while pleading before policemen, the military and Criminal Investigation and Detection Group (CIDG) agents stationed in the province to avoid getting partisan to political rivalries in the province.
“We especially call out against those ignoring the election gun ban flaunting protection from a high-ranking police official,” Gov. Bernos dared.
Irked, Abra lawmaker Joseph Sto Nino Bernos questioned the professionalism of the CIDG personnel stationed in the province and raised , “bakit nilipat naba ang headquarters ng CIDG sa Abra?” referring to the deployment of at least 27 agents of that National Support Unit (NSU) in Abra and the reported stay of another top-ranked CIDG official in the province.
One of Bernos’ opponent in the congressional race is Vicky Seares-Corpuz, wife of CIDG director Police Major General Amador Corpuz, and aunt of gubernatorial bet Robert Victor “JR” Seares. Another congressional bet is Seares’ cousin Dreirei Luna-Ifurung.
Thom F. Picana/ABN