PNP probes ambush of La Union mayor, vice mayor

MANILA — Philippine National Police (PNP) Chief Director General Oscar Albayalde ordered a probe on the ambush, which killed Balaoan, La Union Vice Mayor Alfred Concepcion and wounded his daughter, Mayor Aleli Concepcion, on Wednesday morning.

“I have directed the Regional Director of PRO-1, Chief Supt. Romulo Sapitula to extend all possible assistance to the Concepcion family even as I assure them of the availability of PNP resources and personnel for a speedy and thorough investigation of this incident,” Albayalde told reporters in a press briefing in Camp Crame.

“I have been informed that a province-wide dragnet operation is underway while an all–points bulletin has been raised to all Municipal Police Stations to possibly intercept the suspects,” Albayalde said.

Albayalde also ordered an extensive manhunt against the perpetrators, including any mastermind who would be identified in the course of the investigation.

“As we speak, the Provincial Mobile Force Company and SWAT of La Union are leading massive dragnet operations in the towns of Bangar, Sudipen, Bacnotan, Santol and San Juan all in La Union,” he noted.

Aside from the vice mayor, gunmen on board a sports utility vehicle also killed his aide identified as Michael Ulep, according to Sapitula.

The PNP chief has extended condolences to the families of the victims who succumbed to gunshot wounds when their two-car convoy was ambushed along the Balaoan-Luna Road in Barangay Antonino, Balaoan, La Union at 8:22 a.m.

Both were declared dead on arrival at the local hospital.

Albayalde said additional security has been provided to Aleli, who survived the ambush and is now undergoing treatment at a hospital.

The attack occurred months after the police started to prepare for the mid-term elections next year. The early preparations were triggered by the series of attacks on mayors and vice mayors in the past two years.

Based on police data, at least 18 government officials were either wounded or killed from January to December this year.