BAGUIO CITY, Philippines – Bangued town mayor Ryann Luna has turned fugitive from justice after policemen failed to arrest him in his house or at the town hall Monday night.
Luna, who is now wanted by the law in connection with the murder of then Tineg mayoral bet Brenda Crisologo during the 2007 poll canvassing in Bangued, Abra’s capital town, has not been found by authorities,
Cordillera police director Chief Supt. Benjamin Magalong said.
Policemen tried to serve the arrest warrant of Mayor Luna, who is also running for re-election, at his residence in barangay Dangdangla and at the municipal hall, now being swarmed with his supporters, but failed to locate the town official.
Magalong said coordination is being made with the Justice department and the Immigration bureau for the issuance of a Hold Departure Order.
On Monday morning, Luna was said to have even led his townfolks for the flag ceremony in front of the town hall and was visibly agitated because of impending issuance of arrest warrant, which he said was “ill-timed, politically-motivated and a handiwork of his political opponent.”
Luna’s re-election bid is being contested by businessman Dominic Valera, father of Abra Rep. Ma Jocelyn Bernos of the Liberal Party.
The events, some quarters claim, might be the signal of outbreak of violence in the province ahead of the May 13 polls as Luna’s supporters have barricaded the Bangued town hall, just a stone’s throw away from the provincial capitol.
Chief Supt. Magalong, however, said the events “(have) no significant impact at the moment,” adding that everyone “has the right to hold peaceful and orderly assemblies”.
Luna is from one of the big political clans in the province. His mother , former Rep. Cecille, is running for governor; his brother, Jentrix, is running for re-election in Lagayan town; his brother, Hans, is running against Rep. Bernos; and another brother Cromwell, is running against the slain Crisologo’s husband — Edwin in Tineg.
Earlier, Magalong named both Abra and Kalinga as possible sources of flashpoints in the upcoming polls because of the long history of election-related violence in these areas. – Artemio A. Dumlao