Jomar in grief over loss of a good leader

BACOLOR, Pampanga – Mayor Jose Maria “Jomar” Hizon exploded in tears at the wake of one of his political leaders during his visit Sunday at Madapdap Resettlement Center in Barangay Madapdap, Mabalacat City.

“He is a man who doesn’t pick a fight, he’s a good man,” said an emotionally-charged Hizon during his visit at the remains of Brgy. Mesalipit Chairman Rodrigo Lopez Tongol.

Tongol and two of his companions were killed in a Saturday night ambush along the Bundagol Road in Brgy. Bundagol, Mabalacat City.

The victims, including former barangay kagawads Merlito Naguit, 48, and Pedro Canlas, 67, were on board a government service vehicle and were heading home after they visited a farm in Brgy. Cabalantian, Bacolor town when waylaid by motorcycle-riding-suspects past 7 p.m., stated in the police report.

Four other occupants in the vehicle, including Tongol’s brother, wife and two children, were spared in the attack.

Hizon vowed to take care of Tongol’s family including the education of children left behind by the village chief. “Tutulungan ko sila, lalo na sa pag-aaral ng mga bata.”

Tongol has been received death threats through text messages before but he apparently ignored it, the victim’s relative who declined to be named said.

Meanwhile, flag at the Bacolor town hall fly in half mast as a sign of respect to the fallen Tongol.

Tongol is seeking reelection in the coming October barangay and Sangguniang Kabataan (SK) polls. He was told by family members to quit politics but his passion to serve his constituents decided him to seek for another term.

Supt. Ferdinand Perez, Mabalacat City police chief, said a special investigation task group was created to oversee an in-depth investigation in the murder of Tongol, Naguit and Canlas.

“Were still investigating the case, no clear motive has so far surfaced but all angles are being pursued including politics,” said Perez.

Tongol was the third leader of Hizon who was assassinated since the mayor entered politics in 2007.

Mabalacat City Mayor Marino “Boking” Morales ordered a full-dress investigation to identify the persons behind the ambush-slay of Tongol and two others. – Jess Malabanan