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MANILA, Philippines - Vice President Jejomar C. Binay hailed Tuesday the arrest of the second suspect in the killing of United Nationalist Alliance (UNA) Albay provincial chair Nelson Morales but asked authorities to find the real masterminds behind the slaying.
“I applaud the swift action taken by the police in capturing the people who carried out this despicable crime. But for the death of Nelson Morales to be truly given justice, the persons who plotted the killing should be made to pay for their crimes,” the Vice President said of the killing, seen as the first 2013 election-related assassination.
Morales was gunned down on Friday while attending a wedding ceremony at a chapel in Barangay Estancia, Malinao, Albay.
At the time of his death, Morales was the chairman of the Albay chapter of UNA, the coalition formed by the Partido Demokratiko Pilipino Lakas ng Bayan (PDP Laban) and the Partido ng Masang Pilipino (PMP).
He also served as Binay’s city engineer when the Vice President was still Mayor of Makati.
Binay said Morales was planning to run for mayor of Molinao in next year’s election as the UNA bet.
He lamented that Morales was deprived the opportunity to serve his hometown the way he had served the people of Makati and urged the Philippine National Police to arrest all suspects at the soonest possible time.
“I hope that these cowardly assassins will all be put behind bars,” Binay said.
The Vice President added that election-related violence only mars the people’s right to suffrage and to elect those whom they think would serve them best, which he said was the “ultimate expression of democracy.”
Town Councilor Erwin Pajot was quoted in a press conference as saying that he believed the killing was politically motivated even as he declined to elaborate.