By ARTEMIO A. DUMLAO
Bangued, Abra (December 10, 2010) – Like shooting chickens or hunting ducks, violence continues to happen in Abra.
Regaining its ugly tag as Cordillera’s “Killings Fields”, two more people were killed on Wednesday in Pidigan town, while gunmen exchanged shots with policemen in Bangued, Abra’s capital town on Thursday morning, killing one and wounding two others.
The latest victims of assassination, cousins Jonathan Palecpec, 26, and Froilan Ventura, 23, were last seen drinking with several men on a vacant lot owned by a barangay official in Pidigan. The drinking session broke up when the shooting occurred.
Palecpec sustained a gunshot wound in his upper nape while Ventura sustained gunshot wounds to his body.
Crime scene investigators found four spent shells and one deformed slug for caliber .45 firearm.
The day before the shooting, on Thursday morning, policemen from Task Force Abra and Abra police command were reportedly implementing a Warrant of Arrest against Fernando Baay, who is wanted for murder, when they were met with gunfire at Brgy Cosili East, Bangued.
Baay was killed while his brother Amban and Erwin Tejero were arrested.
One M16 baby armalite and two gauge 12 shotguns were seized by policemen on the scene. They also took two cellular phones.
On Tuesday morning, assassins riding in tandem on motorbikes shot but failed to kill Berheliza Tinog, 52, of barangay Bela-at, Tineg town, along the Abra-Ilocos Sur Road in Barangay Ubbog-Lipcan, also in Bangued.
Abra police director Sr. Supt. Amando Laguiwid said the victim was waiting for a ride along the road when two unidentified gunmen riding in tandem on an XRM Honda motorcycle without license plate closed in on her and shot at the victim once.
The victim was rushed to the hospital. She suffered a gun shot wound on her left arm.
The police recovered a single shell of caliber 45 firearm from the crime scene but they could not yet ascertain the motive of the attempted assassination.
It has become apparent, too, that mainstream journalists and even policemen have stopped counting the number of shootings and killings that happen in the province as these have once again become all too “normal” in the northern enclave that has been known for bloody political rivalries in and out of the election period.
The most recent high-profile killing in the province involved a former commander of the self-styled Cordillera Peoples Liberation Army (CPLA) in Villaviciosa town last month.
Julis Banawe, 53, a former commander of CPLA, an armed renegade group that has joined the government’s anti-insurgency program after splitting up with the Communist Party of the Philippines-New Peoples’ Army in 1986, was gunned down at sitio Lagaosian, Cal-lao, Villaviciosa.