Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Poll-related violence on the rise: Pagbilao Vice Mayor Ambushed in Lucena

The spate of poll-related violence has reached alarming proportions. And we are just two months in the campaign.

Last night, armed men ambushed Liberal party mayoral candidate Apolinario "Apo" Martinez while the victim was driving along the diversion road in Lucena City. The 52 year old vice mayor of Pagbilao town sustained gunshot wounds in the back and was able to drive himself to the nearest police station. The gunmen escaped after the shooting.

Ironically, the incident happened some 500 meters away from the PNP-COMELEC checkpoint in Lucena. Martinez was the latest victim in a series of violent incidents related to the May 10, 2010 polls.

Sources in Quezon province told me that prior to the ambush, Martinez got numerous death threats from unknown enemies asking him to back out of the mayoral race in Pagbilao. A three time vice mayor, Martinez is set to fight Romar Fortez, a three time mayor of Pagbilao town. According to sources, the Fortez family has dominated Pagbilao politics ever since and the town administration has just changed hands between Romar and his wife, Venus Fortez.

Martinez is the latest victim of violence related to the elections. Most victims are Liberal party candidates. The PNP has reported ninety cases already, with more than a hundred killed and scores injured.

Liberal party senatorial candidate Atty. Alex Lacson has called on the Philippine National Police to conduct a thorough probe and launch hot pursuit operations against the perpetuators of this dastardly crime. Moreover, Lacson said the police should also arrest the principals and masterminds of the ambush and bring them to the bar of justice.