‘Reign of fear’ grips Masantol LP candidates ‘mauled’ by mayor

MASANTOL, Pampanga – Local candidates of the Liberal Party (LP) in this town have appealed for Pres. Aquino’s intervention amid a “reign of fear” among local folk, after Mayor Peter Flores reportedly mauled local LP stalwarts in front of the municipal hall at about 5 p.m. last Saturday.

Vice Mayor Bajun Lacap, a member of the LP, said Edgar Guinto, 62, barangay chairman of Sta. Lucia Anak, was rushed to the Bulacan General Hospital after he was allegedly manhandled by the mayor himself.

Three other local LP stalwarts were also reportedly attacked by the mayor without apparent provocation, he said.

“There is a reign of fear now prevailing here since the registration of voters began. Those who are known as supporters of the LP party are being harassed,” said Lacap who is seeking re-election under the LP.

Flores nor any of his allies could immediately be reached for reaction. He belongs to the politically prominent Flores family of neighboring Macabebe town. He is on his third term but his brother Paul is running for his post against LP mayoral bet David Guinto, at present a municipal councilor.

The Floreses belong to the local Kambilan party which now serves as a political venue for former allies of ex-president, now Pampanga 2nd District Rep. Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo, for the 2013 elections.

Lacap said Flores, who had a firearm and was secured by aides who also had arms, was initially seen rushing from the municipal hall towards the town plaza where some current and former local councilors were talking at about 5 p.m. Saturday.

Flores was noted to be wearing a T-shirt and leather shoes when the group saw him rushing to them while allegedly cursing.

“The mayor first started hitting and then kicking Guinto, and he was seen even poking his pistol at him (Guinto),” Lacap said.

With Guinto already fallen, Flores allegedly also hit former councilor Lorenzo Viray who tried to pacify the mayor, and also hit Darius Balingit and Philip Magat, all of them LP members.

“None of them could retaliate because the mayor had armed guards about him. Fortunately, all the guards did was to obviously protect the mayor from any retaliating attacks,” Lacap also said.

As of yesterday, Guinto remained confined at the hospital in Malolos City in Bulacan for a series of tests. He had contusions on his face and was complaining of chest pains.

Lacap noted that last Friday, a known supporter of LP was also harassed by a member of the local police force.

“The supporter was told that he was being invited for a talk with the mayor but he refused to go since he knew our mayor’s temper.”

“We know of no personal rift between Guinto and the mayor. We can only link the incident to politics,” Lacap said.

He said the victims are set to file charges against Flores only yesterday, as the incident happened while government offices were closed.

Contacted on the phone, Viray said he had not yet filed any case as of yesterday, as he was afraid for the safety of his family. The other victims and witnesses could not be reached immediately.

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