Winning S. Kudarat candidate, son killed in ambush

KIDAPAWAN CITY (MindaNews/13 May) – A winning candidate for the provincial board in Sultan Kudarat and his son were killed when shot by three armed men while they were on their way to the provincial canvassing center in the capital town of Isulan around 1:30 p.m. Wednesday, police reports said.

Supt. Saiben Akmad, chief of the anti-vice and investigation division of the Sultan Kudarat Provincial Police Office, identified the victims as Peter Peralta, candidate for provincial board member under the Nationalist People’s Coalition, and his son Feljavar.

Akmad said the Honda CRV, driven by Feljavar, was already at the entrance gate of the Sultan Kudarat provincial capitol complex at Barangay Kalawag when fired at by the motorcycle-riding men.

The suspects first hit the son, and then Peralta, hitting him many times in different parts of his body.

The wounded Feljavar was still able to maneuver the vehicle and headed towards the headquarters of the Regional Police Mobile Service Center in nearby Tacurong City, also in Sultan Kudarat.

Badly wounded, Feljavar bumped the gate of the PNP Mobile Service Center, getting the attention of the policemen manning the post. Father and son were then rushed to the nearby Sultan Kudarat Doctors Hospital but failed to reach the hospital alive.

Peralta, according to autopsy reports, sustained 15 gunshot wounds, most of which hit his head and the upper portion of his body.

“We condemn this barbaric and inhumane act in the highest degree. This is purely lawlessness and I’m calling our authorities to take control of the situation here before it gets worse,” said gubernatorial candidate Carlos Valdez, who is a close ally of Peralta.

The lawyer believes the killing was politically motivated since Peralta is close to winning at fifth place in the race for the 10 provincial board seats.

Comelec officials said that should Peralta win in the election, he would be replaced by either his wife or anybody from his family.

Chief Supt. Felicisimo Khu, Region 12 police director, said they have formed a special task force to lead the investigation on the daring ambush-slay.

Khu said they assigned a team of investigators from the Criminal Investigation and Detection Group (CIDG)-Region 12 to spearhead the investigation of the incident, which he declared as election-related.

“The victim is at fifth place or occupying the last winning seat in his district’s provincial board race and several other candidates are currently running close to him,” he said.

Khu refused to speculate on the possible brains behind the killing but he said several witnesses have already surfaced that could possibly identify the suspects.

“This case is a top priority right now. Hopefully we can gather substantial information from these witnesses so we can identify and arrest all those involved,” he said.

Khu reiterated that all police personnel in the entire region have remained on full alert status until all election-related activities, especially the canvassing of votes in some areas, are completed.

He urged all local politicians, especially the winning candidates, to take extra security precautions while the canvassing of votes is still ongoing.

“The situation is very volatile because of the ongoing canvassing right now so it’s better if they just remain in their homes,” Khu said. (Allen V. Estabillo / MindaNews)