MANILA - La Union 2nd District Rep. Sandra Eriguel has called for a congressional investigation into the Philippine National Police's pull-out of her late husband former congressmen Eufranio Eriguel’s security personnel, just days before he was shot dead in the province earlier this month.
Rep. Eriguel believes that her husband would still be alive if additional security measures were implemented.
"Mr. Speaker, let me state that I firmly believe that if it were not for the orders of RD (Regional Director Romulo) Sapitula to pull out our police security detail and the ineptness of then COP (Chief of Police Alfredo) Padilla for failing to act on the letter of Barangay Capas for security assistance, the shooting incident could have been prevented and my husband would be alive today," she said.
"I ask that as legislators, we look into the actions of the PNP days before the brutal and cowardly murder of my husband. This was an attack on one of your colleagues, an attack on a fellow public servant, an attack on our institution and the people of our district," Rep. Eriguel added.
"Days before, our police security detail were pulled out one by one until none were left on the day of his assassination. This was despite the fact that we pleaded for the PNP to retain our security, considering that in 2016 Congressman Franny survived a failed attempt on his life," she said.
"Last April 30, 2016, Congressman Franny was targeted with an improvised explosive device (IED) planted on a motorcycle which exploded as his convoy was passing along Verceles Road in Agoo, La Union. This was just a few meters from our residence and I was scheduled to be with him in the car that day. One of our supporters died due to severe head injuries and others were critically hurt. This bombing incident remains unsolved and the police have identified no suspects to this day," Rep. Eriguel said.
Rep. Eriguel added that on May 12, 2018, just hours before the attack, they pleaded for additional security due to threats to their lives.
"We pleaded with police Senior Superintendent Genaro Sapiera, the then Provincial Director of La Union Provincial Police Office (LUPPO) not to pull out all of our security detail due to active threats on our lives. Congressman Franny personally pleaded with him. But PD Sapiera insisted that he had orders coming from Police Chief Superintendent Romulo Sapitula, the Regional Director of PNP- Regional Office 1 (PNP-RO1) to pull out all police security detail. The Barangay Captain of Capas, Agoo, La Union also wrote a letter dated May 7, 2018 to then Agoo Chief of Police, Police Chief Inspector Alfredo Padilla, Jr. requesting police assistance during the meeting de Avance. But the said request was not acted upon by PCI Padilla," she explained.
The solon also slammed the circulation of an alleged CCTV of her husband’s death.
“Mr. Speaker, I recently received reports that a video is being circulated online of the CCTV footage on the attack on my husband. It seems that it was taken using a mobile phone while the CCTV footage was being played back. The only plausible explanation on how this video was leaked was when it was shown during the SITG Eriguel II case conference. The DVR box of the CCTV of Barangay Capas is under the custody of PNP-RO1. It is appalling that our PNP personnel are circulating a video that is vital to their investigation and it was released without permission from us, the aggrieved parties," Rep. Eriguel said.
Rep. Eriguel believes her husband’s death was politically motivated, though she didn't name a mastermind.
“This was done by people who have no chance of winning at a fair fight," she said.
"Congressman Franny’s murder was politically motivated. There is no other angle but politics. He was never involved in drugs, despite what his detractors would lead us to believe," Rep. Eriguel added.
Rep. Eriquel, likewise, called for a faster investigation into the death of her husband.
“Mr. Speaker, I would like to call on the authorities, particularly the PNP and the NBI, to fast track the investigation and unmask the perpetrators including the mastermind of my husband’s murder. As long as they remain unidentified, my life and the life of my children will always be at risk," she said.
The former congressman was shot dead by unknown assailants while he was attending a general assembly of candidates running for barangay and Sangguniang Kabataan elections.
Eriguel was gunned down as he was speaking.
His bodyguards tried to shield Eriguel from the assailants, but were also killed.