MANILA — House leaders condemned in the strongest possible terms the ambush against Iligan City Rep. Vicente “Varf” Belmonte Jr. Thursday afternoon near the Laguindingan Airport in Misamis Oriental, killing his two bodyguards and two drivers.
Speaker Feliciano “Sonny” Belmonte Jr., House independent bloc leader and Leyte Rep. Ferdinand Martin Romualdez and House Majority Leader and Mandaluyong City Rep. Neptali “Boyet” Gonzales II called on the authorities to arrest the perpetrators.
Belmonte also aired similar call, saying the ambush “appeared to be well planned,” although Varf Belmonte, who chairs the House committee on dangerous drugs, cheated death.
“This is a very serious concern. Several people have fired their guns from different directions as per phone conversation with Congressman Varf Belmonte. We are calling on Camp Crame to exert best efforts. Political rivalry is probably behind it,” Belmonte said in a chance interview.
“Our authorities should immediately arrest the suspects for them to face the full force of the law. We condemned this cowardly act in the strongest possible terms,” said Romualdez, a lawyer and president of the Philippine Constitution Association (Philconsa).
“This is very disturbing and alarming, I hope our concerned authorities will be very quick in apprehending the suspects,” said Gonzales.
According to Varf Belmonte, he arrived from Manila in the Laguindingan Airport at 1:30 in the afternoon when unidentified men blocked them several meters away from airport while his convoy was heading to Iligan City.
Several heavy armed men alighted the vehicle and opened fire in front of horrified onlookers and passersby. Suspects immediately fled after the incident.