LINGAYEN—Former Congressman Amado Espino Jr. finally broke his silence and maintained that politics was behind the attempt to assassinate him on Sept. 11 in Barangay Magtaking, San Carlos City, an incident that killed his driver and a police bodyguard that also wounded him and his two other companions.
After 21 days since the ambush, the father of Gov. Amado Espino III and 2nd District Rep. Jumel Espino described the incident as an “arrogant and excessive display of armed violence designed once and for all to eliminate me from the political scene”.
The Espino patriarch said the incident “is totally out of place and unprecedented in the entire history of our beloved province” as the Special Investigation Task Group Espino Jr. filed formal complaints on Oct. 1 of two counts of murder and four counts of frustrated murder against 22 persons, 10 of whom were identified only as John Does.
P/Brigadier General Joel Orduña, police regional director, said SITG Espino Jr. headed by his deputy, P/Colonel Ismael Yu, with P/Colonel Redrico Maranan as co-head, continues to validate possible motive of the incidents—politics, business rivalry and personal grudge.
Espino said the attempt on his life failed “as God intervened to protect me because I still have some missions to fulfill for our beloved province.”
He admitted it was his third brush with death, first, as then a fresh graduate of the Philippine Military Academy, he was ambushed twice by the New People’s Army. The first of which was while on patrol with his team where he was unhurt.
The second was along the national highway in Aglipay, Quirino where he sustained 11 gunshot wounds and left for dead by the enemy.
Saying that Sept. 11, 2019 will go down in history as a sad day in Pangasinan, Espino called on the people not to allow those behind this arrogant display of political power to violate the long-established environment of peaceful co-existence.
“My provincemates, let us not allow these conspiring deceitful politicians behind these continual acts of political harassments and those behind the new mode of uncalled for violence to establish a reign of terror in our province for them to be able to control politics, illegal drugs, smuggling, illegal gambling, mining and other unlawful acts that would benefit them politically and financially”, he said.
In insisting that politics was behind his convoy’s ambush, Espino recalled that when he was governor of Pangasinan from 2007 to 2012 he introduced reforms that enabled Pangasinan to recover from its long dormancy.
At that time, he was already the target of intense and well-orchestrated political propaganda, especially in 2010 with the assumption of the new administration.
He recalled that he was accused of masterminding the murder of the late Mayor Ruperto Martinez of Infanta before the Department of Justice, a move which was designed to destroy his reputation and derail his chances of reelection.
Then his political opponent during the election period in 2011-2013 orchestrated the filing of a case against him and two staff over alleged black sand mining with the Ombudsman, using so-called pseudo-crusaders.
The political harassments and orchestrated black propaganda issues continued till the May 2019 elections, he said. (Leonardo Micua)
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