By Lesley Vestil
CEBU, Philippines-The mayor of San Fernando town in Southern Cebu survived an ambush in Barangay Linao, Talisay City on Tuesday afternoon.
But while San Fernando Mayor Lakambini “Neneth” Reluya and a bodyguard survived, her husband Ricardo, a driver and a municipal investments officer were killed during the ambush that happened at around 5 p.m.
Aside from the mayor’s husband, the fatalities were identified as Allan Bayot, the couple’s driver; and Ricky Monterona, local economic investments and promotions officer of San Fernando town.
Supt. Marlu Conag, Talisay City police chief, said the mayor and her companions were onboard a white van going towards Cebu City when their vehicle was sprayed with bullets.
Three unidentified men aboard a white sedan reportedly fired at them from the left side of the vehicle.
Conag said they are still trying to determine who is behind the ambush slay.
But some sectors believe the ambush may have been politically motivated.
Reluya is seeking re-election in the May midterm elections against against businessman Ruben Feliciano for the town’s mayoral seat.
Reluya and Feliciano have been at odds with one another ever since the former issued an executive order stopping the latter from implementing his proposed international port in the town.
The mayor’s husband, Ricardo, who is currently the town’s Association of Barangay Councils (ABC) president, is also running for vice mayor under her slate.
Reluya is the fourth official from San Fernando to be ambushed by unidentified assailants.
Last year, San Fernando councilor Alexander Alicaway was killed in an ambush by unidentified assailants while walking towards the town hall. His death remains unsolved until now.
Earlier this month, incumbent town councilor Reneboy Dacalos was shot dead by unidentified men while sitting at his brother-in-law’s store.
Two weeks later, former ABC president and aspiring town councillor Johnny Arriesgado was also ambushed and killed by unidentified men.
The deaths of Dacalos and Arriesgado were allegedly due to suspicions that they were involved in illegal drugs.