Press Release
March 23, 2010


The Liberal Party today strongly condemned the attacks on the party's candidates as another evidence of a breakdown of law and order due to the indifference of the Arroyo Administration for the successful conduct of the May 10 national and local elections.

LP mayoralty bet Apo Martinez was critically wounded in an ambush by still unidentified motorcycle-riding gunmen while returning home on board his Toyota Revo vehicle Monday between 8:15 p.m. and 8:40 p.m. from a meeting with local leaders in Barangay Bukal in Pagbilao.

LP Director General Chito Gascon said LP standard bearers Benigno S. Aquino III and Mar Roxas immediately sent a team to help Martinez, who is now confined in Mt. Carmel Hospital in Lucena City.

On March 11, three gunmen on board motorcycles also attacked and killed retired Maj. Pedro Cabangon who was running for councilor under LP in Buenavista town also in Quezon province while he was refilling his car in a gasoline station in Buenavista.

LP national treasurer and Quezon Gov. Rafael Nantes condemned the attacks as politically motivated and pointed to LP's opponents in the province as the ones behind the attacks.

Gascon said Aquino and Roxas expressed alarm over the attack on Martinez and Cabangon and both called on Interior Secretary Ronaldo Puno and National Police Chief Director General Jesus Versoza to account for the attack despite their much-publicized assurance that security have been stepped up t0o prevent attacks on candidates.

"Porke ba LP ang kandidato ay walang proteksyon mula kay Puno at Versoza?Aba, mahiya naman sila at gawan na ito ng malalimang imbestigasyon (Is it true that when the candidate is from LP there is no protection from Puno and Versoza? They should be ashamed and conduct a thorough investigation into this attack immediately)," Roxas said.

The attack on Martinez and Cabangon brings to 10 the total number of LP supporters and candidates attacked by armed men since the start of campaign for the elections, Gascon said.

"We call on Puno and Versoza to conduct a real investigation into the real motive behind the series of ambush cases against our members and supporters, and bring the culprits behind bars," Roxas said.

Roxas also called the PNP to provide necessary measures that will protect all candidates in the coming elections.

According to Francis Sevilla, chief of staff of Quezon Governor Raffy P. Nantes, Martinez was ambushed and still in critical condition at Mt. Carmel Hospital due of the gunshot wounds he suffered from unknown assailants.

Last month, the Commission on Human Rights announced that they had started its independent parallel probe into the series of killings against LP's local leaders.

Other LP leaders who were killed in election-related attacks are: Rascal Afdal of Labangan, Zamboanga del Sur (killed January 4); Hadja Hamira Adbullah Agcong of Pagadian City (January 16); Motalliden Pacman "Steve" Tapodoc, candidate for municipal councilor of Labangan, Zamboanga del Sur (January 16); Roldan P. Curalde of the Mabuting Pilipino Movement (MPM) for Noynoy/Mar was killed in Butuan City (January 28); Rose Pajente, operations manager of National Food Authority in Zamboanga del Sur and a known LP supporter; Bong Dizon, coordinator of the Noynoy Aquino for President Movement in Mexico, Pampanga; Atty. Connie Brizuela, an LP volunteer who was among the 57 slain victims in the so-called Maguindanao massacre; and Cecilio Tolentino, a former mayor and running as councilor in Magsingal, Ilocos Sur (January 28).

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