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Philippine mayor dies of gunshot wounds as election violence heats up

Philippine mayor dies of gunshot wounds as election violence heats up

A mayor of a northern town died of gunshot wounds Monday and another survived an assassination attempt as fresh violence marred campaigning for next month's local and congressional elections, officials said.
Nearly 30 people have been reported killed so far nationwide as rival candidates, many of them members of long-established political clans, stepped up their efforts to woo voters ahead of the May 14 polls.
Unlicensed weapons, private armies, weak law enforcement and allegations of vote-buying compound the traditionally rough-and-tumble elections in the Philippines.
In the latest bloodshed, Mayor Julian Resuello of San Carlos, 160 kilometers (100 miles) north of Manila, succumbed to wounds after he was shot Saturday night in a gymnasium during a town fiesta by a man who shook his hand, police said.
An aide who tried to protect Resuello also was killed and five other people wounded, police said.
Chief Superintendent Leopoldo Bataoil said police have not made any arrest but suspect the mayor's enemies. The mayor had sought to switch places with his son, the vice mayor, who ran for his father's post while the father ran for vice mayor.
Bataoil said police recommended that the province be placed under the control of the Elections Commission, which is authorized to take charge of the local police force to stem violence.
In a separate attack, the mayor of Morong town in Bataan province, Norberto Linao Jr., escaped injury after assailants sprayed his house with automatic gunfire Satuday. The mayor was asleep with his family, police said.
The incidents prompted President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo to call on the armed forces to reinforce police and election authorities to stop the violence "and move forcefully against those using threats and intimidation for partisan ends."
"Checkpoints must be manned vigilantly 24 by 7 and all unauthorized firearms held. Cases of election violence must be speedily investigated. ... All identified private armies must be pre-emptied and dismantled," Arroyo said.
Nearly 87,000 candidates are vying for 17,000 national and local positions. All 265 House of Representatives seats and half of the 24 Senate seats also are up for grabs.
The future makeup of Congress could determine whether Arroyo will be able to survive the remainder of her term by 2010.
Two opposition attempts to impeach Arroyo on allegations of vote-rigging and corruption have failed after her allies in the House of Representatives, who currently hold the majority, blocked the complaints against her.


Updated : 2021-03-07 17:59 GMT+08:00