NUEVA ECIJA MAYORAL BET NABBED FOR BOMBING OF RIVAL'S HOME

STA. ROSA, N. ECIJA, February 13, 2004
 (STAR) By Manny Galvez - A mayoral candidate here was arrested last Wednesday afternoon for the bombing of his rival’s home, police said.

Police said they found firearms and bomb-making equipment in the car of Antonio Romero after he was stopped at a police checkpoint along Crossing Daang Maharlika hours after the pre-dawn bomb blast outside the home of his opponent, incumbent Mayor Marlon Marcelo.

Romero, a Lakas candidate, was arrested with two companions, identified as Pedro Padilla and Anastacio de Lara, as prime suspects in the bombing.

No one was hurt in the 3 a.m. blast in Marcelo’s residential compound in Barangay Del Pilar, said the regional police director, Chief Superintendent Vidal Querol.

The blast shattered the glass windows of the house of Marcelo’s brother Rommel, a former councilor, and damaged the facade of the residence of their father, Ponciano, a former vice mayor.

Witnesses said a motorcycle-riding man lobbed the explosives inside the compound.

Police at the checkpoint searched Romero’s Toyota Corolla and found an AK-47, an Ingram machine pistol, a caliber .45 pistol, three improvised explosive devices, ammonium nitrate and blasting caps, Querol said.

Senior Superintendent Luisito Palmera, Nueva Ecija police director, said Romero had a pending arrest warrant for illegal possession of firearms with the sala of Manila Regional Trial Court Judge Mercedes Posada-Lacap.

Querol said Romero’s group was also implicated in the bombings of the Royce Motorcycle Display Center in Cabanatuan City last Jan. 10 and the Sta. Rosa cockpit arena on Jan. 12. Both establishments are reportedly owned by Marcelo’s supporters.

The bombing in Marcelo’s home occurred less than a week after the shooting of vice mayoral candidate Amando Sapiandante and his brother, Armando.

Amando is the running mate of Romero, who lost to Marcelo in the 2001 polls.

Campaigning for the presidential and senatorial posts began Tuesday, while those for local executive positions will start on March 25. — With Christina Mendez and AFP


Reported by: Sol Jose Vanzi

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