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PIA Press Release

Political supporter shot and wounded by losing mayoralty candidate in Masbate

by Maj. HM Cabunoc, Chief DPAO 9ID

Camp Elias Angeles, Pili, CamSur (13 May) -- A political supporter was shot and injured by a losing mayoralty candidate in Masbate yesterday, a military official said.

Major Harold M Cabunoc, 9th ID Philippine Army spokesman, said that mayoralty candidate Esteban Ballesteros shot and injured a certain Junior Argote while riding a motorcycle with two other unidentified companions in Burgos village, in Batuan town.

Cabunoc said that Ballesteros was with a certain Bobong Ballesteros when they flagged down the victim's motorcycle and fired upon him.

The victim sustained gunshot wounds on his leg but was able to flee towards the town center in Batuan to seek medical help and report the incident to the local police.

Soldiers and policemen assigned with the Joint Special Task Force Masbate immediately proceeded to the crime scene but the suspects have already fled to an unknown location.

Manhunt operations are underway to arrest the suspects and shed light on the shooting incident.

Argote was reported to be a loyal supporter of Lakas-Kampi mayor-elect Charlie Yuson III who garnered 2,721 votes against PMP candidate Ballesteros' 2,152 tally (unofficial COMELEC tally). The motive of the shooting is still under investigation as of this writing.

The shooting incident occurred despite the surrender of 53 firearms by prominent politicians in the province, namely now re-elected congressional candidates Antonio Kho and Narciso Bravo Jr., and former Congresswoman and now, Governor-elect Rizalina Lanete.

Prior to this latest incident, Masbate has logged a total of 11 election-related violent incidents (ERVI) in this year's automated elections.

Colonel Alvin Tiamwatt, AFP Special Task Force Masbate commander, said that the efforts of the AFP and PNP, coupled by the support of the local political leaders, paved the way for the waning number of ERVIs this year.

"From a total number of 22 in 2004 elections, 18 were recorded in CY 2007 midterm elections. Now, we have only logged 11 ERVIs, the latest of which still need to be validated. In general, the conduct of the elections in Masbate was successful due to the over-all efforts of all the stakeholders," said Tiam Watt. (PA/PIA) [top]

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