SOLSONA, Ilocos Norte, June 7—Association of Barangay Captains president Alexander “Alex” Calucag of this town survived a broad daylight ambuscade staged by heavily armed men in Brgy. Nalasin here Monday afternoon, lawmen reported.
His police escort identified as PO3 Rodante Julian died on the spot due to fatal gunshot wounds in the body. The first volley of gunfire hit PO3 Julian, thus, he failed to fire his gun to retaliate against the enemy.
Although bloodied and dizzy, Calucag managed to drive his SUV Montero and fled a kilometer away from the crime scene. Rescuers rushed him to the hospital for treatment of his gunshot wounds in the body. The SUV front was riddled with bullets.
At the hospital , Gov. Imee Marcos arrived and personally went to the emergency room to give moral support and to have a first-hand information about the medical condition of Calucag.
“We are expanding the area of investigation, it appears that there are many illegal high-powered firearms in various hands in Solsona. It is important that the police, Army and RMG to be more alert,” the governor said noting that Solsona must be under close watch as political hot spot during elections.
Investigation showed that the victims aboard the SUV were on the way home to Calucag’s place here in Nalasin when the ambush occurred. A few hours earlier, Calucag had just attended their SB session and later left the municipal town hall together with his police escort PO3 Julian. For unsure weeks or months, Calucag got a security aide due to alleged death threats.
Calucag became a known No.1 critic of the De Lara administration in this town when he exposed in the media some suspected anomalies allegedly committed by Mayor Jonathan de Lara, Vice Mayor Joseph de Lara and senior councilor Edison de Lara. Calucag later filed an administrative case against the three in the provincial board.
Several hours after the ambuscade, the mayor and vice mayor told newsmen they expected that the ambush incident would be blamed on them and that their detractors may tag them as the mastermind behind it. They said they have a clear conscience for having no knowledge about it.
Former mayor now Vice Mayor Joseph de Lara said they have long been playing politics but it is not their trait of doing criminal acts. “Saan mi nga ugali ti agaramid iti kasta,” he said in Iluko dialect.
Meanwhile, OIC police provincial director Senior Supt. Albert Erasquin Ocon quickly formed a special investigation Task Force Calucag to probe the incident and track down the ambushers.
After two days, suspect Joey Sia, 32, married was arrested and detained at the Ilocos Norte provincial jail in Laoag City in connection with the Calucag ambush. Police operatives nabbed him at his house in Brgy. Cabittauran, Nueva Era, Ilocos Norte after witnesses tagged him as the alleged triggerman in the shooting incident.
However, when interviewed by reporters, Sia vehemently denied any knowledge on the incident. To prove his innocence, he said some close circuit television (CCTV) camera footages will show that he was in Nueva Era and Banna towns during the exact time the said ambush took place in Solsona.(tsg with bv, ar, ga, da reports)