Press Release
January 7, 2010

Villar Alarmed Over Rising Body Count

Nacionalista Party President Senator Manny Villar is alarmed over the "rising body count of local colleagues," as he detects an "emerging pattern of persecution of those wearing NP colors."

Villar said the "NP casualty count " now stands at four and the start of the local campaign period is a far 11 weeks away. "We are just on the seventh day of the new year and we already have lost four of our local candidates to assassinations. Have we become endangered political species?" he said.

Last week, gunned down and killed in separate incidents were Cipriano "Bobong" Albores, a former kagawad of Kinangan, Malita, Davao del Sur and an organizer of the Manny Villar for President Movement in the province; Barangay Captain Wilbert "Dodong" Origines, ABC president and NP candidate for vice mayor in Taganaan town, Surigao del Norte; and Barangay Chairman Joen Canete, the party's candidate for councilor in the town of Dingras.

Gunned down on Tuesday was Julio 'Bimbo' Esquivias, NP candidate in Casiguran, Sorsogon and a retired police officer. According to witness accounts, Esquivias was shot 10 times by a lone gunman on motorcycle. Just like the other NP casualties, he is a frontrunner in the local race.

"Because they can't be beaten fair and square they were beaten in a manner most foul. There is no other explanation for their tragic fate other than this: They were killed because they were winning," added Villar.

"That is tragic repeating story of our so-called democracy: Those who have no chances of winning through the ballot are resorting to the bullet, " he said.

Villar urged the Comelec and police authorities to rid the "climate of violence" in "hotspot areas" where the temptation of candidates with no chances of winning to resort to force grows as the election period nears.

"Ngayon pa lang dapat agapan na ng mga otoridad. Habang umiinit ang panahon, umiinit din ang eleksyon. Kung tuloy ang pagpaslang, ibig sabihin, hindi epektibo at press release lamang ang kampanya laban sa private armies," Villar said.

He also said "gains in computerizing the elections are cancelled by the primitive way local election contests are settled." "We may be able to modernize the way we vote and count the vote but can we really claim progress if some of us still resort to the Stone Age practice of just bludgeoning the opponent?" he added.

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