Violence marred the first four days of the local election campaign period in Bilar when the residence of United Nationalist Alliance (UNA) mayoralty bet Elmer Namocat was reportedly peppered with bullets at dawn yesterday.
The residence is also the municipal headquarters of UNA in Bilar town.
Namocat, in an interview with DYRD “Inyong Alagad” pointed an accusing finger at his bitter political rival, incumbent Mayor Norman Palacio, as the brains behind the shooting incident that damaged the walls and window grills of his residence.
Palacio, when interviewed said he has nothing to do with the incident, saying it has never been the style of his family to resort to violence even during the time of his father.
He also said there is no reason that would push him to resort to any kind of harassment this time because his rival has negligible influence on the people.
Moreover, Palacio dared Namocat to show evidence to support his accusation that he (Palacio) was behind the strafing incident.
Palacio cited that since 1988 when his father had strong rivals in the mayoralty race like former mayors Corazon Galbreath and Fanuel CadeliÃ±a, there had never been an exchange of harassments from either camps, when in fact.
Those times, his father faced strong rivals, yet they never resorted to desperate moves amounting to harassment.
In his time now, Palacio said, there is no reason for desperate moves as he claimed all the barangay officials are supporting him.
In fact, he said Namocat and his runningmate, former municipal councilor Ramoncita Cabusao, have no line up for the Sangguniang Bayan slots.
Palacio also denied Namocatâ€™s allegation that it was him who was behind the ambush in barangay Yanaya a day before the election in 2013.
The mayor cited that it is Namocat who is being charged in court, considering that it was his (Palacioâ€™s) vehicle that was damaged and his driver who was hit during the incident.
Namocat is on bail on the charge now pending at the trial court in Carmen, according to Palacio.
However, Namocat said the investigation on the incident was bias as he said the truth in the incident was that he was travelling along barangay Yanaya with companions that time when some men opened fire at them and luckily managed to dodge death and speed up and about a kilometer from there, they were strafed again by some armed men. But the police investigators dismissed his version of the incident, allegedly because Palacio used his influence over the municipal police to distort the truth.
Namocat said he was running the campaign of former mayor Corazon Galbreath for the 2013 election. Because of the incident, their group felt threatened and disbanded that they failed to finish the last wave of the campaign sorties.
That is why he is alarmed on the incident yesterday dawn, at around 2 p.m., when burst of gunfire woke up his trusted aide sleeping inside his house and UNA headquarters in the Poblacion area a few meters from the church.
For his part, PInsp. Moises Amba of Bilar police station said it puzzled the investigator why Namocatâ€™s aide and another supporter only came to the police station at 6 a.m. to place the incident in the blotter.
They reported that they heard three gunshots. But the investigator got a statement information from a resident across the house who was awakened by the gunshot that he only heard one gunshot.
It could be that the neighbor was in deep sleep that he did not hear the two other gunshots. But the investigator dismissed this possibility.
The scene of the crime operatives recovered only one slug which the police submitted for examination at the crime laboratory to determine its caliber.
Namocat was in Cebu during the incident to deliver Beauche products to some of the 26 malls he is supplying.
He immediately returned to Bohol yesterday morning to check his house that was strafed, after his aide informed him through cellphone of the incident.
Namocat also called on his supporters to stay calm and refrain from retaliating, because the incident is still under investigation and it will all be up to the authorities.
Namocat said he also immediately called up his leaders to stay calm to prevent any untoward incident.
He said he considers it a harassment against his group, considering that barangay officials are backing him after Palacio turned his back from Congressman Arthur Yap who had poured several projects for the town and had built core shelters for the earthquake victims.
Namocat said he just lamented that the incident happened despite the peace covenant that the rival groups signed last week.
He also said he has no armed bodyguard as he is being protected by the community, the women and the LGBT group which he said should be provided equal treatment in the community—including livelihood opportunities.
Namocat said he received two medals of valor when he was captain of the special forces of the Armed Forces of the Philippines assigned in Bohol during the time of former governor and the late second district congressman Erico Aumentado. For which, he said he knows how to deal with the community with diplomacy and respect.