BACOLOD City Former Negros Occidental congressman and presumptive vice governor Jeffrey Ferrer said residents of Moises Padilla should ask where their mayor was when the series of killings happened in their town.
Ferrer issued the statement after a group claiming to be relatives of victims of killings in the town asked why Ferrer and Negros Occidental Governor Alfredo Maranon Jr., went to Moises Padilla where the convoy of Vice Mayor Ella Garcia-Yulo was ambushed.
The ambush resulted in the deaths of Yulos brother Mark and their nephew, Councilor Michael Garcia.
Yulo is running for mayor against incumbent Mayor Magdaleno Magsie Peña who is her uncle.
One of the members of the group, Misil Hilario, widow of the slain Councilor Jolomar Hilario, asked Marañon and Ferrer where they were when suspected New Peoples Army members killed her husband right before their very eyes.
But Ferrer retorted They should ask first where their Mayor, Moises Padilla Mayor Magdaleno Pena was when these killings happened.
He added that Peña should have surfaced during the killings but where was he?
Ferrer said they condemn the killings that happened in Moises Padilla, not only that of the Garcias.
But the first that should show his sympathy is the father of the town, Mayor Peña.
Ferrer said he and Marañon went to the area because Vice Mayor Ella Garcia-Yulo and her slate are with the National Unity Party which he chairs.
Ferrer said he was even the one who signed the CONA (Certificate of Nomination and Acceptance) of the late Councilor Michael Garcia who was seeking re-election.
He added that NUP has a coalition with the United Negros Alliance of headed by Marañon.
Ferrer also asked why it took Pena five days to issue his denial of allegations that he had something to do with the ambush last April 25, 2019.
Peña, a former mayor of Pulupandan, issued the denial in a press conference at the Pulupandan Municipal Hall, not in Moises Padilla where he is the mayor.
Meanwhile, Vice Mayor Yulo refuted Peñas statement insinuating that her group may have staged the ambush and blame him for it.
I cannot do that, we cannot do that, to kill members of the family for politics, we cannot do that, only him (Pena) can do that, she told reporters here.
In a press conference on April 29, 2019 at the Pulupandan municipal hall, Peña denied accusations that he masterminded the ambush.
Yulo said that because of the rising sentiments of the people against Peña, he has no way of winning and resorted to have her killed in order to win the elections.
Peña was also the subject of a petition from residents submitted to the Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG) complaining that he (Pena) is allegedly an absentee mayor and does not hold office at the municipal hall of the town.
But some of the petitioners retracted and claimed that their signatures were forged after they were allegedly threatened by some of the mayors henchmen.