Laak's new mayor, vice mayor sworn in

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Thursday, May 29, 2014


VICE Mayor Carlito A. Pacatang and 1st Councilor Milagros Y. Camile took their oath on Thursday as new Laak mayor and vice mayor, respectively, after the tragic death of Laak Mayor Reynaldo B. Navarro, who was ambushed Wednesday morning.

Compostela Valley Governor Arturo Uy swore Pacatang and Camile into office in a ceremony held at the Big 8 Hotel in Tagum City.

The ceremony was witnessed by representatives of the Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG) in Davao, few members of the family, and other local officials who paid respects to the bereaved family of Navarro.

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Navarro, 62, was on his way home onboard a white Montero Sport with plate number SHE-663 when six armed men riding on two motorcycles attacked him upon reaching Km. 9 at Purok 12 in Barangay Sigayen in Asuncion town in Davao del Norte around 8:20 a.m. of Wednesday, May 28.

Five others were wounded in the incident: his security escorts Police Officer 3 (PO3) Glen Ochoco and PO1 Rey Leones of the Laak Municipal Police Station, his driver identified as Timitilito Pacano, and two civilians identified as Crispolo Patajo Sr. and Paquito Tonocante.

Uy condemned the killing of Navarro, whom he described as “black eye.”

“I strongly condemn the senseless killing of a very dear friend and partner in the development of our province, particularly in Laak. He was an esteemed leader, an honorable man committed to public service,” the governor said in a statement.

NPA denies hand in slay

Meanwhile, Rigoberto F. Sanchez, spokesperson for NPA-Southern Mindanao Regional Operations Command, denied accusations that the NPA are the perpetrators of Navarro’s killing.

While the NPA earlier issued a stern warning against the mayor for his alleged involvement in illegal logging, which Navarro vehemently denied, Sanchez said “there are no strong grounds showing Navarro’s grave offenses against the revolutionary movement that would necessitate the People’s Democratic Government to hand down the maximum penalty of capital punishment.”

The NPA leader condemned the killing of the Laak mayor and offered condolences to his family and colleagues in Laak, Compostela Valley.

“While Navarro was part of the Big 4 in Agusan-Comval-Davao del Norte forests, the NPA has not considered him an enemy that warrants a standing order or a recipient of a death sentence. Navarro’s track record did not make him a legitimate military target, thus, no revolutionary punishment was executed against him,” Sanchez said in a statement emailed to Sun.Star Davao.

Sanchez also said that the slain mayor has “cooperated” with the rebels to “cover territories of the People’s Democratic Government in Compostela Valley.”

Mayor Navarro’s political career began when he was appointed as OIC Municipal Mayor of the Municipality of Laak (former San Vicente) by DILG Secretary Jaime Ferrer in 1987.

He then ran and won as municipal mayor in the 1988 local elections.

He finished three consecutive terms as Municipal Mayor in 1998 and continued his political career when he accepted the appointment as first Vice-Governor of Compostela Valley on March 1998.

In the election that ensued two months later, he was overwhelmingly voted into office thus becoming also as the first elected Vice Governor of Compostela Valley Province.

He lost in the May 2001 election and so worked as general manager of Sarmiento Corporation.

Thereafter, he also won and served as punong barangay in Barangay Bollukan, Laak in the 2002 elections and elected as Liga ng mga Barangay Provincial Chapter President and served as Ex-Officio Provincial Board member of ComVal.

Navarro ran again and won as mayor in May 2007 elections and ran unopposed during May 2010 elections and was voted into office again in the May 2013 elections.

Published in the Sun.Star Davao newspaper on May 30, 2014.

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