THE Davao mayoralty race catches more fire as one candidate says a recent ambush incident shows proof that the incumbent mayor is allied with the communist rebels.

House Speaker Prospero Nograles on Saturday accused rival Davao Mayor Rodrigo Duterte of allying with the New People's Army (NPA), who allegedly ambushed and robbed two of his campaign staff in Sitio Guinobatan, Barangay Paquibato, Paquibato District, Davao city.

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“This is a confirmation of our reports that Duterte's Hugpong sa Tawong Lungsod has allied itself with the NPAs. The Comelec (Commission on Elections) should take this incident very seriously and consider our recommendation that the city should be place under Comelec control,” Nograles said.

The Speaker noted that he does not understand how NPA rebels could have thrived in Davao City, which has P800 million in peace and order fund.

“This is Davao City we are talking about and not some backwater municipality where there is hardly any sign of civilization," he said.

Nograles blamed Duterte for letting the communist insurgents to flourish in Davao city.

“How can the government succeed in putting an end to these terrorists’ activities of the NPAs when some politicians are even supporting or even cuddling them just to stay in power? These politicians are even supplying them with arms and bullets which they use to attack our own soldiers. These terrorists’ attacks should be condemned in the strongest terms. This has to end now,” he stated.

He disclosed that Duterte was earlier photographed shaking hands with Leocio Pitao, alias Kumander Parago of the Pulanag Bagani Command, who was reported to have led the ambush.

After rebels purportedly burned down the pick-up truck belonging to Nograles's campaign team, soldiers responded to the area.

But a roadside bomb attack using an improvised explosive device was launched against the responding 69th Infantry battalion, killing four soldiers.

“I just hope that the wounded soldiers are already safe. The AFP should really do something to make sure that Davao City is safe from these terrorists,” he added. (Angela Casauay/Sunnex)