By SHERWIN DE VERA
BAGUIO CITY — A partylist solon representing the youth condemned the killing of an incumbent councilor and vice-mayoral candidate for the 2019 poll in Sto. Tomas town.
“Councilor Oculto is another casualty under the intensifying fascism taking over the country. A number of mayors and vice mayors have been killed under this administration, especially those who are under the president’s list of ‘narcopoliticians'”, Kabataan partylist representative Sarah Elago said.
Councilor Benjamin Oculto, Jr., a resident of Barangay San Marcos, was shot dead on Sunday, December 16 at about 10:40 in the morning according to police reports.
She also expressed concern over “state-sponsored” attacks and violence being “institutionalized” under the Duterte government.
“He is completing his master plan of making a society subservient to the rule of tyranny,” she added.
Pangasinan police chief Senior Supt. Wilson Lopez said a lone gunmen who alighted from board a blue Toyota Corolla with no plate number shot the councilor using an M16 rifle.
The councilor just finished attending mass at the Jesus Christ Chapel in Barangay Poblacion West and was crossing the street to his vehicle when the incident happened investigators said. Attending physicians declared him dead on arrival.
The assailant fired at the responding police who immediately returned fire wounding and arrested one of the suspects. Police identified the shooter as Jun-Jun Vidal, 40, from Bataan who was left by his companions who fled with the unmarked car.
Recovered from him is an M16 rifle with two magazines and one clip loaded with bullets for a .45 calibre pistol.
Vidal is now under the custody of the police for treatment and interrogation.
The Kabataan solon said the “cold blooded murder” of Oculto is a “manifestation of election-related violence furled by the intensified fascism in the country.”
The PNP has yet to establish the motive but has taken politics as a possible cause for Oculto’s killing.
Oculto is the running mate of Councilor Ely A. Ramos, who is running for mayor and narrowly escaped an assassination attempt on October 4. Like his slain political ally, Ramos came from the church and just arrived home at about 9 am on his motorcycle when unidentified motorcycle riding men shot him from behind.
The two are challenging the incumbent mayor and vice mayor of Sto. Tomas, Timoteo Villar III and Wlfredo Pescador respectively. This breaks the four-decade unopposed rule of the Villars.
Both are running under the political party of the Alaminos City Mayor Arthur Celeste- Mark Ronald DG. Lambino tandem for governor and vice governor against re-electionist Governor Amado Espino III and vice-gubernatorial candicate Angel Baniqued, Sr.
The killing of Oculto came exactly month after former three-term Bayambang town councilor Levin Uy, a former three-term councilor of Bayambang was shot and killed while taking a jog near his home in Barangay Poblacion.
Also this year, three politicians were shot and killed in La Union province.
Gunmen assassinated Former La Union second district representative Eufranio Eriguel on May 12. While Sudipen Mayor Alexander Buquing and Vice Mayor Alfred Concepcion died an ambush on October 1 and November 14 respectively. # nordis.net