FORMER Pulupandan town mayor and now mayoralty candidate Luis Espinosa Mondia was shot around 7 p.m. Wednesday after attending from an Ash Wednesday mass at Jaro Cathedral in Iloilo.
The victim was with his housewife, Evelinda, together with their seven-year-old grandson and 25-yer-old son.
Mondia, who was onboard his Mazda pick-up, was hit on his head, neck, and armpit on a close range by two unidentified assassins, with another companion at a distance.
The killers used a 45 caliber pistol as empty shells were found at the crime scene, police said.
Mondia was comatose as of 11 p.m. said Rutchell Mondia, the victim’s niece who is a nurse.
Police authorities said over dyWB Bombo Radyo that the assassins fled using a motorcycle after shooting the former mayor.
The assassins believed to have exited from the crime scene either going to Pavia, to the airport, or San Miguel.
Jaro police investigators theorized that the suspects based on the accounts of some bystanders were already at the crime scene and have waited for Mondia to come out from the church.
He was opening the door of his red pick-up when shot by the assassins. His wife brought him to the Iloilo Mission Hospital.
Gina, the victim’s sister, said his brother stayed for quiet sometime now in Jaro, Iloilo after being charged for staging an ambush, together with his family and supporters against incumbent Mayor Magdaleno Peña.
Peña survived the ambush but two of his bodyguards died in the incident.
Gina said the shooting of his brother has something to do with politics in Pulupandan, which has been declared by the Commission on Elections (Comelec) as an area of concern this election season due to the past political conflicts between Mondia and Peña who are known as close political rivals in the town.
Gina is running in tandem as a vice mayor to his brother in what is supposed to be a “return bout” against Peña for the May 10 elections. Mondia lost to Peña in the last 2007 election.
Gina said they believe that somebody whom she called "Tiling" is behind the killing of his brother. She said the suspects may have been monitoring the activity of his brother in Iloilo.
Mondia used to go to church almost every day at the Jaro Cathedral. He was last seen in Pulupandan when he filed his certificate of candidacy (COC) in November last year.
Gina said her brother gambled his life to defend the rights of the people of his town. Those who were responsible for the shooting of his brother were like animals, she said.
She added that her brother is a peace-loving person who would stand pat for righteousness.
"He was not afraid even he was under threat. He even transferred to Iloilo as he wanted a peaceful life," Gina said.
Mayor Peña, in a radio interview over Bombo Radyo-Bacolod, said Mondia may have enemies in Iloilo.
"There would be no show time in Pulupandan this coming election, it would be boring,” he said.