By Artemio Dumlao (The Philippine Star) Updated April 17, 2011 12:00 AM
Dolores, Abra, Philippines – Tension is building up here as Mayor Roberto Seares Jr. has been charged with two counts of murder in the assassination of a village chief in his town and a bystander and two more counts of frustrated murder of two more bystanders.
Tagged as brains in the March 18 killing of Loreto Barbosa, 56, barangay chairman of Taping, by the supposed 18-year-old gunman Jonel de Mesa, Seares, however, blamed “dirty politics” for the accusation.
“It is purely politics (though 2013 is yet far),” Seares blurted out as he defended the accusation against him, brandishing his family’s record as “medical doctors” in the community who saved lives and not stopping life. “I will file counter charges against my accusers,” he vowed.
One of the bystanders who was killed in the attack on the barangay chairman comes from a huge family and supposedly have connections up to Malacañang.
“Barbosa was my ally,” the mayor said. “I could have not ordered his assassination,” he said.
Five days after the assassination, driver of the getaway motor vehicle, Jomer Bergonia surrendered to police and named De Mesa as the gunman.
A day after, De Mesa also gave up and confessed to authorities that Seares paid and ordered him to kill the barangay chairman.
His confession led to the filing of two counts of murder and two counts of frustrated murder against Seares, De Mesa, Bergonia and Alex Millare who contacted the gunman for the “hit.”
Cordillera police regional investigation division chief Senior Superintendent Joseph Adnol said, “this confirms the crime analysis in (the province) that some cases of murder with the use of firearms are politically motivated.”
But Seares vowed to clear his and his family’s name. “I am doing all efforts for my town to progress, but rivals are trying to destroy it,” the 31-year-old mayor said.