Pampanga vice governor, Central Luzon police condemn attack on 2 village chiefs

PAMPANGA, Philippines – Pampanga Vice Governor Dennis Pineda and Central Luzon police have condemned the attack on two village chiefs of Apalit town.

Police Regional Office 3 (PRO3) Director  Brigadier General Joel Napoleon Coronel and  Pineda issued separate statements on the attack on Barangay Captain Nicolas Gardiner of San Vicente village and Barangay Captain Renato Pacia of Sampaloc village, both in Apalit town.

Coronel said the two were traversing MacArthur Highway in Barangay Sto Domingo in Minalin town on their way to Apalit at around 4:15 pm  on Wednesday, March 27, when a black Toyota Fortuner overtook them. The driver of the other vehicle opened the window and fired a handgun several times at the village officials. 

Police said Gardiner, who was driving the car, sustained a gunshot wound in his arm while Pacia, who was seated beside Gardiner, was unharmed.

The still unidentified suspect then drove towards San Simon town. The vehicle had no plate number and no conduction sticker, police said.

Gardiner was rushed to the Jose B. Lingad Memorial Regional Hospital in San Fernando City for treatment.

'In-depth probe'

“Police Regional Office 3 strongly condemns this ruthless incident and an in-depth probe is underway that will lead us to the identification and location of the culprit/s," Coronel said, and urged the public to relay to police any information that may help them track down the suspects.

"We are looking into all angles to establish possible motives and we are exerting all means to get into the bottom of this unfortunate incident. We assure the public, as well as the victims' families, of our total commitment to ensure immediate resolution of the case through proper investigation,” he added.

VILLAGE CHIEFS. Barangay Captain Renato Pacia of Sampaloc village (left) and Barangay Captain Nicolas Gardiner of San Vicente village, both in Apalit town, Pampanga. Photo from the Facebook page of Renato Pacia

VILLAGE CHIEFS. Barangay Captain Renato Pacia of Sampaloc village (left) and Barangay Captain Nicolas Gardiner of San Vicente village, both in Apalit town, Pampanga.

Photo from the Facebook page of Renato Pacia

Pineda said in a statement on Wednesday night that prior to the incident, the two village officials  attended a church-sponsored event on the signing of a peace covenant among Pampanga gubernatorial candidates. The campaign period for  local candidates would begin on Friday, March 29.

“What is most deplorable and saddening is that the perpetrators attacked just after the signing of a peace covenant at the Metropolitan Cathedral among gubernatorial candidates. Barangay Captains Pacia and Gardener came to meet with me after the signing," the Vice Governor said.

"Both are first-termer officials. Apalit mayoral candidate Jun Tetangco, their friend, said the two do not have enemies or have intimated that they have been receiving threats whatsoever,” he added. 

Pineda is running for Pampanga governor while his mother, third-termer Governor Lilia Pineda, will run for vice governor in May. – Rappler.com