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Killing of Ilocos town mayor alarms residents

Town mayor Arsenio Agustin of Marcos, Ilocos Norte was inspecting the on-going construction of a small water impounding dam in sitio Cabua-an, Mabuti village on Saturday morning when he was shot by still unidentified gunman.

Responding police personnel found Agustin, 61, and Rusmar Valencia, 35, a backhoe driver, lying on the ground and soaked with blood at about 11:40 am.

Two laborers at the construction site identified as Camilo Alagao, 60, and Nolan Valencia, 18, were also shot in the legs.

Police theorized the gunman positioned himself at the hilly portion of the dam and fired upon the group of Agustin. The group immediately ran to the bullet proof vehicle of Agustin but Agustin and Valencia were shot dead.

Known as a low key person among elected mayors of Ilocos Norte with always a ready smile to everyone, the people of Marcos joined Ilocos Norte Governor Ma. Imelda Josefa Marcos and the League of Mayors of the Philippines-Ilocos Norte in condemning Agustin’s killing.

“We are very alarmed of what is happening in our town. I hope justice will be served the soonest,” said ABC president Alexander Navarro in a radio interview.

On April 4 this year, Marcos vice mayor Jessie Ermitanio survived an ambush along a dirt road between Ragas and Daquioag villages after attending a village gathering.

Ermitanio’s driver was also killed during the attack and two municipal employees were wounded.

As of this posting, a special investigation task group was activated led by Police Chief Inspector Angelito de Juan.

Police checkpoints are also alerted in the continuing hot pursuit operations.

Sworn statements and bio profile data of Agustin’s driver Christopher Alegre, Police Officer 3 Harold Leaño and six laborers who witnessed the killing incident are being processed.

“Thank you for serving the constituents of LGU Marcos, my dear young ones! See you again next SPES program.” This was Agustin’s last post in his Facebook account on May 31, as he had a photo opportunity with student-workers deployed in the municipality under the Special Program for the Employment of Students (SPES) during the summer break.

“Kailan lang ang saya niya. Subalit ngayon nagluluksa ang mga Marcosenios dahil sa walang pusong may gawa ng kanyang agarang kamatayan,” said Evelyn Villanueva, an employee of the municipal town hall as she posted Agustin's photo in her Facebook and called for justice.

Agustin is survived by his wife Luz and two children based in Hawaii, United States.