Former Pangasinan Governor Amado Espino Junior used to have a highly formidable image and reputation as a “strongman” of the province. For almost a decade, he and his political allies ruled the vote-rich province. And for that long a time, nothing changed much in a province of about two million souls, mostly families of soldiers and Overseas Filipino Workers (OFW).
In the last elections, Espino ran and lost as Congressman. His son, Amado the third, however clinched the governorship.
Last September 11, while the ex-governor was on board his Toyota Innova, a group of about 22 men fired at his vehicle, reportedly killing five of his security aides. Reports from the Philippine National Police (PNP), however, reported only one casualty, his closest aide, who risked his body when the gunmen trained their guns at the ex-governor.
This happened around 4:30 in the afternoon in Barangay Magtaking, San Carlos City in Philippines, a place known as haven of gun-for-hires and former rebels. The injured ex-governor was rushed to the Holy Blessed Family Hospital in San Carlos City.
Today, Brigadier General Joel Orduna, director of the Ilocos Regional office said they have arrested twenty two suspected assailants involved in Espino’s ambush try. Orduna is highly confident of the arrests since these were based on forensic evidence.
They were identified as Albert Palisoc who also uses the alias “Alvin Pascaran,”, Armando Frias with an alias “Jong”; Benjie Resultan, Joey Ferrer, Ronnie Delos Santos, Gerry Pascua also known as “Kagawad Guapo”, Sherwin Diaz, Teofilo Ferrer alias “Pong”; a certain Russel when uses the alias ” Sel”; Jewel Castro, John Paul Regalado, Alfred Pascaran and 10 other John Does. Regalado and Castro are registered owners of the vehicles used during the ambush.
While this is a significant accomplishment of the case, the question still remains–who ordered the assassination attempt?
Officially, the PNP is still trying to solve the piece of the puzzle. Many ex-PNP officials however, posits some clues as to the identity of the mastermind.
Reportedly, the mastermind was motivated not by politics but by the desire to dominate the province with his reportedly sleazy business.