Yet another victim linked to the May 14th elections
Cebu (AsiaNews/Agencies) – Pre-electoral violence in the Philippines continues unabated: police from the central Cebu province today confirmed the death of Rogelio Illustrisimo, candidate in the local May 14th elections, killed this morning by two assassins.
Police said they are investigating the motive for the attack, but said it “apparently was connected to local politics”, the victim was a candidate for mayor in the town of Santa Fe in Cebu’s Bantayan Island and there has been heated rivalry for the post.
Illustrisimo is the 26th victim of violence in the run up to elections which will decide the make up of the senate and local authorities. President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo, has asked the army to back up police in anti-violence measures, and has ordered that all privately owned fire arms be confiscated.
Before Ilutrisimo the Mayor of the southern city of San Carlos, Julian Resuello, and a candidate to the municipal council in Jaen, Nueva Ecija province as well as a police officer from the same area all died. A further 17 people have been wounded in attacks, three policemen among them.
The number however remains relatively low if one considers that for the 2004 presidential elections - when 148 deaths were recorded - and the 2001 mid-term polls with 111 killings. The country’s Catholic Church has intervened on the issue of election tensions. In a pastoral letter, the president of the Philippine bishops Conference Msgr. Angel N. Lagdameo asked the faithful to unite themselves in prayer May 5 through 24th to “seek God’s guidance so the that elections may be peaceful free and fair and above all reflect the will of the people”.