LAOAG CITY, May 8 (PIA) — The Commission on Elections is keeping a close watch on Pagudpud town following a clash between supporters of mayoral candidates in that town on Tuesday.
Lawyer Joel Gines, provincial election supervisor, said he will wait for the recommendation of the Philippine National Police on whether to elevate Pagudpud as under area of immediate election concern as a result of the incident.
Pagudpud is one of three towns previously placed by Comelec-Ilocos Norte as area of concern next to Dingras and Marcos.
“No matter what status, we will closely monitor Pagudpud,” Gines said in a telephone interview.
He said the Comelec and PNP have agreed to deploy more policemen to secure the area after initial coordination meetings since Tuesday.
Gines said Chief Supt. Ricardo Marquez, Ilocos Police Regional Director, went to Pagudpud early morning today to personally supervise police visibility and security and ease political tension between the rival parties.
At least two persons have died and another remained in serious condition following an exchange of gunfire between the supporters of re-electionist Pagudpud Mayor Matilde Sales and her rival incumbent vice mayor Marlon Sales in barangay Poblacion in that town on Tuesday.
Police said killed was Ryan Calventas, Matilde Sales’ bodyguard and supporter, and Roger Ragasa, a supporter of Marlon Sales. Ragasa was taken to the provincial hospital for treatment where he eventually died. Remedios Asuncion, a bystander whose house is near the area where the incident took place, remains in critical condition.
The police have yet to confirm whether the incident was a shootout or an ambush after the candidates’ supporters, who were on board separate vehicles, caught up on a road in Barangay Poblacion.
Marlon, younger brother of former Mayor Reynolan Sales and husband of Matilde, is running for the first time against his sister-in-law.
Marlon’s wife Emilen ran against Matilde in the mayoral post in 2010 and lost.
Matilde Sales also survived an ambush in 2010 after she won the mayoral seat. (MCA/PIA1 Ilocos Norte)