ROXAS CITY, Philippines — An outgoing village headman shot dead his younger brother and two sisters early Tuesday after he and his teenage daughter lost in Monday’s barangay elections on the island of Manapao in the municipality of Pontevedra, police said.
Inspector William Limjuco, Pontevedra police chief, said a hunt was under way for Manuel Arcenas, 58, outgoing barangay captain of Manapao, who escaped immediately after shooting his brother Ramon, 56, and sisters Jennifer Arcenas-Nuyles, 53, and Evelyn Arcenas-Espinar, 51.
He said investigators had yet to establish the motive for the killings but they believed it had something to do with political rivalry as well as a dispute among the siblings over their inheritance.
He said the eldest of the Arcenas brothers ran for barangay councilor and lost while his daughter Isabel, 19, lost to her uncle Ramon in the race for barangay chairman.
Limjuco said Manuel first shot Ramon, who had been proclaimed the next chairman of Barangay Manapao, then his sisters as they were having coffee at the house of a neighbor identified as Winnie Baticula.
Josephine, Ramon Arcenas’ wife, told the police she saw Manuel Arcenas holding a carbine rifle with two .45-caliber pistols tucked in his waist when he arrived at Baticula’s house. She said her brother-in-law then shot his siblings one by one with the rifle and left.
The victims were declared dead on arrival at the Bailan District Hospital. Ramon suffered a bullet wound in the head, while Evelyn and Jennifer suffered multiple gunshot wounds.
Senior Police Officer 1 Donna Asmod, information officer of the Capiz provincial police command, said Manuel Arcenas might have gotten mad that his daughter had lost to Ramon and his anger might have been exacerbated by his own defeat.
Aside from Ramon and Isabel, Evelyn’s husband Benjamin Espinar also ran for village chief of Manapao. Benjamin was not present during the shooting.
Lawyer Wil Arceño, Capiz election supervisor, said the incident was considered election-related.
Interior Secretary Manuel “Mar” Roxas II, a native of Capiz, has directed Capiz police director Senior Superintendent Victor Wanchakan to intensify the hunt for Manuel Arcenas.
A Task Force Arcenas, which Wanchakan heads, had been formed to track down the suspect and investigate the killings.