Security beefed up at Ilocos town after mayor arrested for predecessor’s slay

July 18, 2017 - 9:03 AM

LAOAG CITY, Philippines — Police in the town of Marcos, Ilocos Norte have been reinforced after the July 14 arrest of newly-installed Mayor Jessie Ermitanio for the June 3 murder of his predecessor, Arsenio Agustin.

The beefed up security came after a bomb threat disrupted work at the town hall last Friday.

The threat followed a series of raids on properties of Ermitanio that yielded weapons and explosives.

Ermitanio, who was vice mayor, took over as mayor on June 7, three days after Agustin was killed, along with municipal employee Rusmar Valencia, at a project site.

An arrested suspect, Bernie Lazo, claimed Ermitanio ordered Agustin’s murder.

Lazo said the two politicians were allies until Ermitanio suspected Agustin to be behind an April 4 ambush that he survived unscathed but left his driver dead and two town employees wounded.

Ermitanio and his driver, Renato Esta, from whom an unlicensed .45 caliber pistol and a shotgun were seized, remain in the custody of the Criminal Investigation and Detection Group.

Three of the mayor’s household workers are also being held by police.