3 political supporters shot in M’lang

KIDAPAWAN CITY (MindaNews/10 May) – Three persons, two of them confirmed supporters of a candidate for mayor in M’lang, North Cotabato, survived attempts on their lives Thursday, police said.

Senior Inspector Realan Mamon, police chief of M’lang, identified the victims as Joed Bedic and Hilarion Debita, both residents of Barangay Tibao, M’lang and Felipe Bedia.

Bedic and Hilarion are supporters of reelectionist Mayor Joselito Pinol, and Bedia is a supporter of Joselito Mercado, Pinol’s opponent.

Mamon said the first shooting incident took place along the national highway in Barangay Bialong, M’lang, around 3 p.m. when a gunman aboard a black pickup truck fires at Bedic and Debita.

In an interview, Pinol admitted Bedic and Debita are his supporters.

He said the victims were on board a motorcycle on their way to Barangay Tibao when the assailant shot them with an M16 armalite rifle.

“The victims fell on the cemented road and ran for their safety. While they were running, the suspect still fired shots towards them. The good thing was, they survived,” the mayor said.

Also at around 3 p.m. on Thursday, two unidentified gunmen fired at Bedia in Barangay Buayan, also in M’lang.

Mamon said Bedia was riding a motorcycle when the attackers on board a white van fired at him.

Police said the victim sustained injuries in his body and was rushed to the M’lang Doctors Hospital.

Investigators recovered slugs from a .45 caliber pistol and M16 rifle at the crime scene.

Pinol, who is seeking a third term, is running under the Liberal Party while Mercado is an independent candidate. (Malu Cadelina-Manar/MindaNews)