5 hurt in attack on Lakas mayoral bet’s house in Surigao Norte

Around 50 unidentified armed men attacked the house of ruling Lakas-KAMPI party mayoralty bet in Surigao del Norte early dawn Saturday, wounding five people, mostly household members, a police official said.

Surigao del Norte Police Provincial Director Senior Supt. Gilbert Dela Cruz Cruz said the attack on the house of former Malimono Mayor Teodoro Fortich Sinaca occurred around 2 a.m.

“The two police security escorts of former Mayor Sinaca were not injured in the attack, but household members and bystanders were hit by stray bullets" Cruz said in a phone interview with GMANews.TV.

Cruz identified the police security escorts of Sinaca as SPO1 Guadito Gordonas and PO3 Edgar Bagayas, who defended the candidate's home against the attackers (armed with high-powered firearms) until responding police team arrived.

Cruz said police reinforcements from Surigao del Norte Provincial Police Office engaged the attackers for more or less one hour.

“Without the valiant stand of the two police security escorts of Sinaca, I don’t know what could have happened to the former Mayor and his household members including the Mayoralty candidate’s own family", Cruz said.

In a separate interview, Sinaca said that he and his entire family were safe, saying the attack was politically motivated.

He identified the five wounded victims – three of whom were his household members – as Crispiniano Sajor, Juncer Palen, Rodolfo Esmaquil and two bystanders Anjelo Sinaca and Renieboy A. Pedida, all residents of Poblacion Malimono.

Meanwhile, Cruz said he already intensified security measures for all candidates in the province following intelligence reports of possible politically-motivated attacks as the Election Day draws near.

Recovered around Sinaca’s house were empty shells from M-16 Armalite rifles, M-16 hand guards, and four magazines of M-16 rifle.

Earlier, Northeastern Mindanao New People’s Army (NPA) leader Jorge Madlos a.k.a. Ka Oris warned of armed attack against re-electionist Lakas Surigao del Norte Rep. Guillermo Romarate Jr., if the lawmaker would disregard NPA policy banning armed goons in campaign sorties.

But Romarate denied Madlos accusations saying he has only two police escorts. — BS/LBG, GMANews.TV

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