MANILA - The wife of slain Trece Martires Vice Mayor Alex Lubigan of Cavite province registered Tuesday her candidacy for the top post in her town.
Lubigan was in a sports utility vehicle when gunmen in another vehicle opened fire in July. He and his bodyguard were killed in the attack that occurred outside a hospital in Trece Martires.
His widow Gemma Lubigan filed her certificate of candidacy for mayor with her supporters and running mate Bobby Montehermoso Jr., chairman of Barangay De Ocampo.
Mrs. Lubigan told reporters that she will continue the fight of her husband who was supposed to run for the same post.
Among those that will challenge the widow's election bid is former mayor Melancio "Jun" De Sagun Jr., father of incumbent local chief executive Melencio De Sagun.
The younger De Sagun was identified by a witness as the alleged mastermind in Lubigan's slay. He is facing murder charges.
Speaking to ABS-CBN News, the elder De Sagun denied his son's alleged hand in the assassination, saying the evidence against him is merely hearsay.
"Pinagbintangan ka lang, ikaw na? Hindi naman ah," he said.
"Mababaw lang ang kanila. Ang ebidensyang hearsay, hindi matibay."
(If you've been accused, does that automatically make you guilty? That shouldn't be so. Their argument is shallow. Evidence based on heresay is weak.)
Also running for Trece Martirez's top office is incumbent Vice Mayor Denver Colorado.
Authorities are still mulling over whether or not to declare Trece Martires as an "area of immediate concern" ahead of May's polls, said provincial election supervisor Atty. Sheryl Moresca-Julie.
Lubigan's killing came in the same week in which Tanauan Mayor Antonio Halili of Batangas and General Tinio Mayor Ferdinand Bote of Nueva Ecija were shot dead.
Seventeen local officials have been killed since President Rodrigo Duterte took office in 2016.
Report from Dennis Datu, ABS-CBN News