Former Pangasinan solon hurt in ambush

ABS-CBN News

Posted at Sep 11 2019 06:51 PM | Updated as of Sep 12 2019 09:01 AM

Noriel Padiernos, ABS-CBN News

MANILA (5th UPDATE)—Former Pangasinan Rep. Amado Espino Jr. was wounded while his police escort was killed in an ambush in Pangasinan Wednesday afternoon, police said.

Unidentified gunmen attacked the lawmaker while he was on board his black Toyota Land Cruiser in Barangay Magtaking, San Carlos City past 4 p.m.

Espino is now in safe condition but is in need of blood transfusion, the province's public information office said.

The Philippine National Police (PNP) said only 1 has been confirmed dead, 2 others were in the operating room, and others were recuperating in the hospital.

The fatality was identified as PO3 Richard Esguerra, who was shot and killed while traveling in convoy with the lawmaker.

Initial investigation showed the victims were waylaid by 2 vehicles and peppered them with bullets.

Espino's driver managed to speed off and brought the lawmaker to the hospital.

Sen. Richard Gordon earlier said Espino was in critical condition while 5 others were killed in the ambush.

"Espino has just been ambushed and is now fighting for his life in a hospital," Gordon said in a tweet.

Espino's driver and bodyguards died protecting him, he added.

"This is completely unacceptable in this day and age, yet it happens with impunity. The police should be able to track down the perpetrators if they act fast," he said.

Noriel Padiernos, ABS-CBN News

Police later found a car allegedly used as a getaway vehicle in Barangay Cubol in the same city, some 5 kilometers away from the crime scene.

Found inside were 2 M-16 rifles, a face mask, clothes, and a cap.

Gordon called on PNP chief Oscar Albayalde "to mobilize all police forces to track down the killers and bring them to justice."

In a statement, the PNP said it "strongly condemns the attack" and that Albayalde has ordered a manhunt and immediate investigation.

"The PNP Chief, Police General Oscar David Albayalde has directed the PRO1 (Police Regional Office 1) to immediately launch manhunt operations to arrest the suspects, expedite the investigation, and file criminal charges to give justice to the victims," the PNP said.

Espino, also a former Pangasinan governor, was on President Rodrigo Duterte's list of politicians allegedly involved in the drug trade. Duterte later acknowledged there was a mistake and apologized.

- with a report from Noriel Padiernos, ABS-CBN News