Negros Occidental town vice mayor says she was target of ambush

NEGROS OCCIDENTAL, Philippines – A Negros Occidental town vice mayor, whose brother and nephew were killed in an ambush after a campaign sortie on Thursday, April 25, said she was the target of the assailants.

In an interview with reporters in her home, Moises Padilla Vice Mayor Ella Garcia Yulo said the man behind the killing of her kin was merciless, adding that the ambush was politically motivated.

She and her husband were recently released from jail after they posted bail for illegal possession of explosive charges. The couple was arrested in December 2017 at a police checkpoint for Yulo's supposed possession of firearms, explosives, and drugs.

She is seeking the mayoral seat this May 13 elections against reelectionist Mayor Magdaleno Peña, who is her uncle.

Yulo's brother Mark Garcia and their nephew, Councilor Michael Garcia, were waylaid by 20 armed men in Barangay Inolingan and their pickup truck was riddled with bullets.

Yulo was in the convoy when the attack happened, but she was able to flee after her brother and nephew helped her escape.

"We were doing house-to-house campaign when we saw a black Mitsubishi Strada and men wearing jacket and bonnet from afar. This is why we left the area hurriedly. They let me ride in a different vehicle," the vice mayor recalled.

She said the suspects came after them.

"I believed I was the target...I was saved by Mike and Mark. They blocked their car to cover me so I could run. They were left behind. They were killed," said Yulo, who was very emotional. She added the assailants finished them off with shots to their heads.

She said she was able to take cover from nearby houses. She was very thankful that a family helped her hide.

The vice mayor believed that the attack was perpetrated by her political opponents. She said she recognized their men when she saw them while she was campaigning.

She called on the mastermind to surrender and not hide. "They know they will lose. Demonyo gid (he is really a demon)," she claimed.

'Help us'

Yulo asked President Rodrigo Duterte to help her get justice for her family.

"Tatay Digong, tabangi kami. Wala kami mahimo di. Wala ko goons. Wala ko di kwarta bakal armas. Tatay Digong, ikaw lang ka tabang. Tatay Digong, kung ikaw magiyo, ma hatagan gid kami hustisya," she said.

(Tatay Digong, please help us. We can't do anything here. I have no goons. I don't have money to buy firearms. Tatay Digong, you're the only one who can help us. Tatay Digong, if you act on our appeal, we can attain justice.)

The vice mayor said her only intention is to serve her constituents.

Michael Garcia is the third councilor to be killed in the province in 2019. Moises Padilla Councilor Jolomar Hilario was killed in his home at Barangay Inolingan on March 31, while Escalante City Councilor Bernardino Patigas was shot dead just 3 days ago, April 22. – Rappler.com