BACOLOD CITY, April 11 (PNA) — Although he did not mention names, the husband of re-electionist Lourdes Escalante of Manapla town, Negros Occidental considered the recent grenade assault at their residence “politically motivated.”
Manuel Escalante, also the former mayor of the town now executive assistant of Governor Alfredo Marañon Jr., said grenade attacks aimed to harass or assassinate them.
“The intent to kill is really high. The suspects did not even mind the presence of the children of our helpers whose houses were inside our compound,” Escalante said in a press conference Thursday.
Two M-203 grenade launchers were lobbed at the house of Escalante in Barangay Punta Mesa, Manapla town about 10:40 p.m. Wednesday.
Escalante said the grenades were fired from a farm across the river some few meters away from his house.
The Manapla Municipal Police Station conducted an immediate checkpoint to corner the suspects but to no avail because the suspects immediately fled using a vehicle minutes before the policemen staged the checkpoint, according to Escalante.
The grenade explosion at the mayor’s residence shattered the jalousies of the house and also hit the walls of the dirty kitchen.
Escalante claimed his daughter was alarmed and that the children of their house helpers were all traumatized by the incident.
As to their possible suspects, Escalante said that based on their intelligence report, there were only two influential persons in the province that have and/or can afford to buy such expensive grenade launchers.
But he said that they do not want to speculate at the moment unless they have concrete evidence leading to the identities of the two as prime suspects.
Meanwhile, Governor Alfredo Marañon Jr. condemned the incident and urged the police to put the perpetrators behind bars.
Like Escalante, Marañon is also looking at politics as the main reason why the attack happened.
Negros Occidental Provincial Police Office and Manapla Municipal Police Office are closely investigating the incident.
Members of 303rd Infantry Brigade of the Philippine Army are also set to help to fast track the hot pursuit operation against the suspects.
Provincial Election Supervisor Atty. Wil Arceno, on the other hand, could not yet consider the incident as “election-related”.
Arceno said the determination and declaration will be up to NOPPO Director Senior Supt. Celestino Guara. (PNA)