Police suspect politics behind deadly gun attack Cebu town mayor

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The bullet marked van that was carrying Mayor Reluya, her husband and three members of staff. Her husband and a member of staff were killed in the attack.

The Cebu Provincial Police Office has said it is looking at politics as the motive behind the gun attack on the mayor of San Fernando town.

Mayor Lakambini Reluya survived the ambush yesterday (Tuesday, January 22) but her husband, Ricardo, driver Allan Bayot and staff-member Ricky Monterona died on the spot when their van was fired in Talisay City, Senior Superintendent Mauel Abrugena confirmed today.

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Mayor Reluya is now in stable condition at an undisclosed hospital where she was taken along with her two other injured companions identified by the police as Giovanni Perez and Tolentin Jefer.

“We could see that the attack is political in nature and at the same time we can also say that it is related to the mayor’s work as local chief executive,” Sr. Supt. Abrugena told the Philippine News Agency.

He added that the police were now following “some persons of interest” who might be behind the ambush. “We cannot divulge the name as it might hamper the ongoing investigation,” he said.

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Superintendent Marlu Conag, Talisay City Police Office chief, said he escorted Mayor Reluya to the hospital minutes after the attack.

He also said Scene of the Crime Operations agents recovered several empty shells of different calibers of firearms at the crime scene.

“The motive is really to kill those who are inside the van. It’s premeditated and well-planned,” Supt. Conag said.

The police said eyewitness saw four to five gunmen wearing bonnets alight from a car then proceeded to pepper the white van carrying the mayor and her group with bullets.

Other victims involved in politics

The Reluyas are both involved in politics. The mayor’s husband was ex-officio member of the Sangguniang Bayan, being president of the Association of Barangay Councils.

Just last week, San Fernando town’s Barangay Magsico chairman Johnny Arriesgado was shot dead in Barangay Poblacion while driving his multicab.

San Fernando municipal councillor Reneboy Dacalos was also shot dead by unidentified men at his brother-in-law’s store in Barangay South Poblacion on January 10.

As we reported last week, the British government has updated its travel advice in light of the upcoming elections. Part of its warning reads: “It’s not uncommon to see increases in election related violence in the run up to elections. You should keep up to date with local activity and avoid demonstrations or large gatherings of people.”

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