Election official shot in Libungan

Celis said Gutierrez was on his way home after playing tennis at the Poblacion in Libungan, when the gunman shot him to the head.

Gutierrez was rushed to a hospital in Cotabato City, some 45 minutes north of Libungan, for treatment. 

Celis, who claimed he is close to Gutierrez, said the shooting of his friend was not related to politics.

“I am 80-percent sure the shooting was not politically-motivated or in a way related to the ongoing election registration in his area of responsibility.  I am pretty sure it’s more of personal,” he said.

Monday’s shooting was the second attack against Comelec officials in North Cotabato in less than a week. 

On April 15, a still unidentified assailant wearing ski-mask shot dead Francisco Mecutuan Jr., election registrar of Tulunan, while traversing the national highway along Barangay Buayan in M’lang town.

Mecutuan’s death, according to police investigations, was politically motivated and could be related to the ongoing voters’ registration in his town.

In a radio interview, Tulunan Vice Mayor Jomar Cerebo disclosed that months before Mecutuan’s killing, the Sangguniang Bayan of Tulunan had invited the election officer for a thorough questioning in connection with the list-up of voters.   

Cerebo said Mecutuan reported to them that a number of voters from nearby towns in Maguindanao province had registered in Tulunan. 

“And because he was not certain whether these voters had really come from Tulunan, he had [put] some markings on their profiles,” said Cerebo.

The provincial police office will file this week a complaint against a suspect in the killing who was reportedly identified by an unnamed witness. (Malu Cadelina Manar/MindaNews)