By Anthony Giron
CAMP GEN. PANTALEON GARCIA, IMUS, Cavite – Trece Martires City mayoralty candidates Melencio de Sagun Sr. and Gemma Lubigan shook hands to seal a pact to keep the May elections peaceful and orderly.
The two made the pact during a pre-election interaction here.
Tension between the camps of De Sagun and Lubigan had escalated after they traded brickbats following the killing of Lubigan’s husband Alexander and his driver in July last year.
The two shook hands before Sr. Superintendent William M. Segun, the Cavite provincial police chief. They also signed the Integrity and Peace Pledge tarpaulin.
For officials and observers, the presence and moves of De Sagun, Lubigan were “gestures of positiveness” and assurance that the campaign and election periods in Trece Martires would go on peacefully and orderly.
De Sagun, a former Trece Martires mayor, is the father of incumbent Mayor Melandres de Sagun who was accused by Gemma Lubigan of masterminding the killing of her husband, who was then the vice mayor.
The Department of Justice (DOJ) eventually dismissed the murder complaint against Melandres de Sagun after he filed his counter-affidavit that denied his involvement in the incident. There were some five named suspects, including the alleged gunman, in the incident.
Gemma decided to run for mayor following her husband’s death.
Melencio Sr., is also vying for the post seeking to take over from Melendres who is stepping after his third and final term.
Lubigan, who was on his last term as vice mayor, was planning to run for mayor.
Killed with Lubigan was his driver Romulo Guillemer, while his aide, Romeo Edrinal, was wounded.
De Sagun, Luibigan,7th District congressional candidate Hermogenes Arayata and vice mayoralty aspirant Shernan Jaro were among the 11 candidates who attended the event, dubbed the Ugnayan ng Simbahan at Pulis (USAP).
Segun said the candidates signified “their will and assurance in keeping the elections free, peaceful, significant and meaningful.”
The almost two-hour event was led by Segun, Provincial Election Officer Arnulfo H. Pioquinto, DILG Cavite Eloiza G. Rozul and Father Herald Arenal, chairperson, Parish Pastoral Church for Responsible Voting. Also present were the chiefs of police from Cavite province’s eight districts, students, residents and media members.
With the signing of the covenant, Pioquinto and Rozul see a peaceful campaign and election period in the province.
Meanwhile, Segun confirmed that Imus City and Rosario town have been removed from the Election Watchlist of Areas (EWAs).
With Imus and Rosario out, only Trece Martires and Maragondon were left in Cavite’s EWA.
The two cities and two municipalities were included in the EWA about a month after the gun ban and election period started last Jan.