Friday, June 4, 2010

Politics,the Second Quarter of 2010:The Pacman Tries for Another TKO in Sarangani

On Monday, 4/26/2010, the day after the 5 Pacquiao campaign workers were arrested in the kidnapping attempt on Mayor Enrique Yap of G'laan,Sarangani Province,Provincial Governor Rene Miguel Dominguez travelled to visit his partymate and close ally,Mayor Yap. After all, with their close alliance,the attempt on Mayor Yap MIGHT have been a potshot at the Governor.Spending about an hour in G'laan,Governor Dominguez's convoy then began the return trip to GenSan (General Santos City) for a meeting with Presidential candidate Gilbert"Gibo"Teodoro who was scheduled to give a speech at Mindanao Polytechnic.

Governor Dominguez's SUV had just passed the foot of Lun Masla Bridge in Mapalatan when a powerful IED partially detonated.The device,centered upon a 105 MM Howitzer shell wired to a Motorola cellular phone was attached to an abandoned motorcycle parked near the shoulder of the road.Detonating at partial strength due to a problem with the shell, no casualties were reported and the convoy continued unscathed onto GenSan.

While things did manage to die down in G'laan, at least momentarily,the town was listed as an"Election Hotspot"by COMELEC (the governmental authority charged with overseeing all elections).On Election Day snafus resulted in a COMELEC decison to include G'laan on the list of municpalities to participate in the Re-balloting, yesterday, Thursday, June 3rd (re-edit: Mayor Enrique Yap is out of office and brother Victor James Yap has replaced him, while their sister Vivien is the Vice Mayor, noted on August 1, 2010). speaking of "Election Hotspots," most of the nation along with the very limited international coverage Mindanao receives have all focused on Maguindanao Province and the rest of the ARMM (Autonomous Region of Muslim Mindanao) because of the "Maguindanao Massacare"to be discussed in a subsequent entry. To a lesser degree Lanao del Sur Province has received attention as well but most people have not even considered that there may have been a much more violent section of the island that had managed to evade scrutiny.

Region IX, the Zamboanga Peninsula with its 3 provinces saw more than 32 deaths this election season (beginning in eary November when candidates begin registering with COMELEC to declare their candidacy up until 6/03/2010 when this election's Re-balloting took place. That number is pretty amazing when COMELEC is declaring that the entire island had only 27 deaths (of course not including the almost 60 deaths from the "Maguindanao Massacre").

Most deaths revolved around the mayoral race in Labangan in Zamboanga del Sur Province and most victims were members of the Liberal Party in that municipality. Vice Mayor Wilson "Kitty" Nandang, cousin of the current mayor, Abubakar Afdal was the central figure in all deaths in that area.

I) The first to die, on record at least, was Ensor Pakil, a Liberal Party organiser in Labangan. He was shot to death on 12/29/2010.

II) On 1/04/2010 "habal-habal" driver (motorised tricycle built from a motorcross "dirtbike") Rascal Afdal was letting his son drive, on National Hiway in Barangay Dao, Pagadian City, Zamboanga del Sur Province. 48 year old Afdal was cut off by 2 men on a single motorcyle. Immediately the passenger on the rear of the motorcycle killed Afdal. Rascal Afdal is a supporter of Vice Mayor Wilson "Kitty" Nandang, as well as being his cousin and his personal driver  (though by a stroke of co-incidence un-related to the mayor with whom he coincidentally shares a surname).

III) On 1/11/2010, Rosalinda "Rose" Pajente, an Operations Manager for the National Food Authority (Philippine equivalent to the American FDA) was on her way home and fast approaching a PNP (Police) checkpoint on National Hiway, in Barangay Tiguma, Pagadian City. 2 men on a motorcycle drove up on her left, the man on the rear shot her to death before fleeing. Rose was an organiser for the Liberal Party in neighbouring Labangan.

IV) On 1/16/2010, at 5PM, Hadja Anira Abdullah Agcong , a supporter Wilson "Kitty" Nandang and a major backer for his stab at the mayoralty was at Pagadian City's Gaisano Mall to purchase medicines for her ailing son, who waited in the SUV. As soon as Ms. Agcong stepped out of her vehicle she was shot in the chest and killed by an assailant holding a 45 caliber pistol. He then calmly walked away, hopped on the back of a motorcycle and drove off.

V) The next day, 1/17/2010, Motalliden "Steve" Pacman Tapodoc, a cadidate for Town Council in Labangan on the Liberal Party ticket was walking behind the Pagadian City Hall compound in Barangay Poblacion. As he neared the corner nearest the Philippine Independant Church 2 men on a motorcyle shot him to death with a 45 caliber pistol.

VI) On 2/09/2010, incumbernt Barangay Councilor and former Barangay Captain on the Liberal Party ticket, Joel Autida of Barangay Cabgan in Tambulig, a municipality adjoining Labangan was shot to death with a 45 caliber pistol.

VII) On 3/09/2010, Liberal Party Organiser, 32 year old Jay Durangparang of Purok Bayabas, Barangay Kalubi, Aurora, Zamboanga del Sur was shot to death by PNP (Police). 5 Police Officers and the chief of Aurora PNP have been arrested and charged with his murder.

VIII) On that same day, 3/09/2010, 42 year old Edilberto Monticillo was also killed, in Aurora. The Liberal Party campaign worker is believed to have been killed by the same officers charged in Mr. Durangparang's death but noone has been charged as of posting.

IX) On 3/14/2010 Liberal Party campaign worker Alfredo Labor Dalingding of Dumalinao, Zamboanga del Sur was killed by 45 caliber pistol.

X) The next day, 3/15/2010, Liberal Party campaign worker Tuaher Dakula was killed in his hometown of Kumalarang, Zamboanga del Sur.

XI) On 4/01/2010, 42 year old Habib "Andi" Maulana of Barangay Campo Islam, Labangan was taking his wife and young children for a ride in his "habal-habal" in Pagadian City"s Barangay Tiguma...when the Liberal Party organiser reached the intersection of National Hiway and the Access Road for the integrated Bus Terminal (IBT) his vehicle was cut off by 2 men on a motorcycle. The man on the rear calmly leaned over and shot Mr. Maulauna 5 times in the head with a 45 caliber pistol.

XII) On 4/03/2010, at 11AM, Victoriano "Jun" Olila of Somniot, Zamboanga del Sur Province and that town's Liberal Party coordinator was on his motorcycle when 2 men on a motorcycle pulled up next to him and shot him to death with a 45 caliber pistol.

XIII) On 4/05/2010 in Purok African Daisy, Barangay Catibog in Titay, Zamboanga Sibugay Province, a man on a motorcyle rode by the compound of radio station 103.1 FM, "Magic FM" and threw a hand grenade into the station's compound. The grenade hit a billboard and inadvertantly landed very near to the street where 1 hapless pedestrian was unluckily walking. The unidentified man was critically wounded. The station is owned by Zamboanga Sibugay's  Governor, George Hofer, the patriarch of the Hofer political dynasty.

Prior to the attack the station had been receiving threatening text messages warning it to ease up against a comepeting political dynasty, the Jalosjos clan. the Jalosjos had been unseated by the Hofers roughly 10 years before but are running in this year's election despite their patriarch Romeo Jalosjos just being released from prison this past March (2010). Romeo Jalosjos, a former Congressman from Zambonga del Norte Province spent the past 16 years serving time for the rape of a child. His original sentence of Life was commuted by President Arroyo.

Governor George Hofer is reaching the end of his term limit and is now running for mayor of Ipil, the second major Christian* town in Region IX. Daughter Dulce Ann Hofer, who usually goes by her middle name (Ann) is running for her father's gubneratorial seat. Her brother Jet Hofer is running for the 2nd District Zambomga Sibugay congressional seat, vacated by sister Dulce Ann so that she might in turn fill their father's surrendered gubneratorial seat. "Musical Chairs."

*"Christian" in the South Philippines is an ethnicity as well as a religious label.

Running againt Jet Hofer is John John Jalosjos, son of former Congressman Romeo Jalosjos, and brother to Rommel Jalosjos who is himself running for Governor against Ducle Ann Hofer.

In 2/2010 Jet Hofer supported the allegations of the Barangay Captain* of Barangay Veterans, Dan Erasmo who filed a petition with COMELEC, the Philippine 's Election Authority, with regard to Rommel, accusing the older son of Romeo Jalosjo of lying on his COMELEC application when he claimed to be residing with his brother in Ipil.

XIV) On 4/08/2010 in Barangay Poblacion, Kabasalan, Zamboanga Sibugay a senior PNP (Police) officer and campaign worker for the Lakas-KAMPI-CMD* Party had 2 grenades thrown at his house. Only 1 detonated but luckily, apart from shock there were no casualties.

*Lakas-KAMPI-CMD is the ruling party.

XV) On Sunday, 4/11/2010, Liberal Party Organiser Bernardo Aying of Midsalip, Zamboanga del Sur was shot to death with a 45 caliber pistol.

XVI) On Monday, 4/12/2010 Rolando Mayormita, a Liberal Party campaign worker in Labangan was shot to death, by 45 caliber pistol in adjoining Pagadian City.

XVII) That same day, 4/12/2010, also in Zamboanga Sibugay, a Liberal Party campaign rally a grenade attack left 4 people seriously wounded, 1 critically. 3 of those people were young children.

XVIII) On Tuesday, 4/13/2010, a convoy of Lakas-KAMPI-CMD workers in the hinterlands of Zamboanga Sibugay Province were strafed with automatic gunfire but luckily incurred no casualties.

XIX) That same day, 4/13/2010, in Zamboanga Sibugay Province a gathering of politicians at the barangay level were fired upon, wounding 1 of them moderately.

XX) At 8PM on Thursday, 4/15/2010, Mayoral candidate Gerge Castillo (Lakas-KAMPI-CMD), of Barangay Poblacion in Titay, Zamboanga Sibugay found a primed IED at his doorstep. Luckily authorities sapped it prior to detonation.

XXI) That same day, 4/15/2010, at 830 PM a Lakas-KAMPI-CMD rally in the Barangay Hall of Titay's Barangay San Antonio was the scene of a stampeding mob after the PNP (Police) discovered an IED inside a plastic bag in the hall's phone booth. The bomb consisted of PVC and black powder (gun powder),i.e. a "pipe bomb."

XXII) That night, in the overnight hours between 4/15/2010 and 4/16/2010 fisherman Jun Borja of Olutanga on Olutanga Island in Zamboanga Sibugay was readying his gear when a gunman approached him and shot him to death with a 45 caliber pistol. Mr. Borja was an organiser for an Olutanga (Olutanga is also the name of 1 of 3 municipalities on the small island) candiate for mayor.

XXIII) On Sunday, 4/18/2010, at 730 PM in Barangay Poblacion, Kabansalan, Zamboanga Sibugay a Lakas-KAMPI-CMD rally in the town gymnasium was the scene of yet another hand grenade attack. The group of 4 young men gravely wounded woman and her young child were seriously wounded.

XXIV) At 8AM on Tuesday, 5/04/2010 Liberal Party Organisers and assistants were riding in 2 flatbed trucks owned by Mayoral candidate Wilson "Kitty" Nandang, en route to Labangan's isolated Barangay Langatod when they were forced to stop at an impromptu checkpoint by armed men. The gunmen made everyone dismount and walk home (roughly 20 kilometers through the bush). As the passnegers began walking the gunmen shot and killed both drivers (Bakel Samal, of Labangan and an employee of candidate Nandang, and an unidentified 2nd man) and then set both trucks and bodies on fire.

XXV) On Friday, 5/07/2010 , Purok Gin-awa, Barangay Tawagan Norte, Zamboanga Sibugay, gunmen with M16s set upon a roup of habal-habal drivers who supported Wilson "Kitty" Nandang and killed 2 of them: Hashim Abang Maguindra and Hussain Maguindra Manarasol (no blood relation), and wounding a 3rd unidentifed driver.

XXVI) On Sunday, 5/09/2010, the night before election an IED detonated 3 meters from the mayoral office in Ipil's Barangay Poblacion, at the War Monument on Rizal Street. Because of the late overnight hour nobody was present . The Ipil Department of Education building was severely damaged.

XXVII) At just after midnite, 5/10/2010, Election Day, 2 men on a motorcycle shot and killed the brother of the provincial vice governor in Zamboanga City.

XXVIII) On Election Day, Monday, 5/10/2010 at 215 AM in Barangay Poblacion, R.T. Lim (town, a.k.a. Roseller Town) in Zamboanga Sibugay , a convoy of campaign workers and Organisers for mayoral candidate Rogelio Lopez refused to stop at a PNP/AFP (Police/Army) checkpoint. As the AFP went in pursuit the convoy began firing at the pursuing soldiers. Reaching Lopez's compound in Barangay Surabay the fleeing men piled out of their SUVs and began fanning out taking up defencive positions. As the AFP, and then the PNP quickly arrived a 3 hour firefight broke out. After the smoke cleared 3 of Lopez's men were killed and 8 people were wounded, 3 of whom were PNP officers.

Not suprisingly, the local and national media reported that it was a "peaceful election." an additional Liberal Party campaign worker, Toto Lagana of Labangan was shot to death by a 45 caliber pistol but scant information, including the date of his death are available.

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