BANGUED, Abra – Tension gripped a poll precinct yesterday morning when armed supporters of two mayoral candidates shot it out before horrified voters, killing a barangay tanod and wounding two of the gunmen in Barangay Pang-ot, Lagayan town.
Senior Supt. Antonio Bartolome, Abra police director, identified the fatality as Zacarias Manuel Sr., barangay tanod of Pang-ot.
Wounded were Joel Donato, alleged supporter of mayoral candidate Jodel Crisologo; and Randy Viloria, son of the barangay captain in the area.
Bartolome said because of the violence, voting was immediately stopped and the vote counting machine (VCM) and other poll parapernalia were transferred to Poblacion under heavy escort by police and Army soldiers.
In a follow-up operation, Bartolome said police and soldiers of the 24th Infantry Battalion led by Lieutenants Puno and Tadina captured Rodel Villa, who was armed with a long barrel .38-caliber revolver, while trying to escape on board an Isuzu pick-up.
Also arrested were Carlos Donato Almazan, who was caught with a .45-caliber pistol; Rochelle Donato with 9mm pistol; Merly Cabangon with .22-caliber pistol.
Lawmen were pursuing the other gunmen as of yesterday afternoon.
Bartolome said the firefight erupted between supporters of the Luna and Crisologo families.
The town’s mayoral candidates are Jodel Crisologo, Jendrick Luna, Aguinaldo Suben, Antia Seares and Berna Sibayan.
So far, other areas in Abra are peaceful, Bartolome said.