ZAMBOANGA SIBUGAY, Philippines
Police probers are still “validating” the reported shooting incident at a village in Siay, Zamboanga Sibugay allegedly involving the supporters of mayoralty candidates that left a supporter wounded.
Police Colonel Albert Larubis, provincial police director, told The Sun Monitor “we are still validating” the report to determine the parties involved and identify the suspects.
Prior to the incident, the convoy of vehicles of retired Police Lt. Colonel and mayoralty candidate Mickel Argus and his supporters stopped at a junction of Purok 3 at Barangay Mahayahay at around 2:30 p.m. on May 5.
Argus is challenging the re-electionist mayor, Jarvis Acosta in May 9 elections. Acosta and his family have held the position for over a decade.
One of his supporters, disembarked and conducted a bodily search on an auxiliary personnel of the municipal government. The report did not say why a civilian supporter of Argus conducted the search, which The Sun Monitor cannot independently verify.
Argus, according to the police, was able to pacify the already tensed situation and their convoy proceeded to a nearby village.
Upon their return to he same area, the convoy of Argus stopped. Some of his supporters waved to the people around them when two pick-up trucks allegedly belonging to the incumbent mayor arrived.
The two vehicles passed by and stopped some 30 meters away from the group of Argus and a burst of gunfire coming from the two vehicles hitting one of Argus supporters identified as Juan Albarca, Jr. on his left leg.
Police investigators said the two pick-up trucks sped away while responders brought the victim to the hospital for treatment.
Recovered from the crime scene were 24 pieces fired cartridge cases of caliber 5.56, three pieces of caliber 5.56 unfired ammunition, three pieces fired cartridge cases of caliber 9mm, two pieces fired cartridge cases of caliber .45, and one piece caliber .45 unfired ammunition.
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Acosta, asked by The Sun Monitor for comment, has yet to reply as of this posting.
The investigation is on-going to determine the motives of the shooting incident, Larubis said.
Authorities have placed Siay along with the towns of Mabuhay, and Tungawan under Yellow Category during the May 9 elections, which means the areas are under close monitoring for possible eruption of election-related hostilities. (Antonio Manaytay)
This story is supported by Internews under the Internews Philippines Story Grants 2022.