By FROILAN GALLARDO
Special correspondent .
A CANDIDATE for mayor was wounded while one of his supporters was reportedly killed in an encounter with Army soldiers in Lakewood, Zamboanga del Sur, Sunday night.
In Northern Mindanao, policemen arrested 16 persons in a midnight sweep to stop vote buying in three provinces and Iligan City Sunday night.
Zamboanga del Sur police director Col. Redentor Retusto said Partido ng Demokratikong Pilipino Lakewood mayoral candidate Domingo Mirrar survived after an encounter with Army soldiers in Barangay Tubod.
Retusto said one of the supporters of Mirrar was killed in the incident.
“We are still investigating the incident,” he told the Gold Star Daily.
The military said soldiers encountered a “private armed group” that resulted in one death and the capture of six others.
“Prior to encounter, our troops were conducting mobile patrol when this armed group fired upon them. Our troops fired back and an encounter ensued,” said Lt. Col. Marlowe Patria, commander of 53rd Infantry Battalion.
Patria said soldiers seized a caliber .45 pistol with ammunitions, three magazines for an M16 rifle with ammunition, two motorcycles, a tricycle, and a vehicle.
Mirrar offered a different version saying it was the soldiers who fired at him and his supporters.
He said he was riding a jeep while 15 of his supporters were riding motorcycles, and they passed by a checkpoint manned by Army soldiers.
Mirrar said the soldiers on a military truck chased them and opened fire, hitting him in the thigh.
“I told my driver to slow down when I sensed the soldiers were chasing us. They were about to overtake us when they fired,” Mirrar narrated.
Mirrar said the hail of bullets forced his vehicle to smash an electric pole.
In his fright, Mirrar said he hid in a ravine and only came out three hours later when he saw that a police car and reporters were already at the scene.
In Northern Mindanao, Camp Alagar spokesperson Lt. Col. Surki Serenas said over P1 million intended to buy votes were confiscated from 16 people in the provinces of Bukidnon, Lanao del Norte, Misamis Occidental and Iligan City Sunday night.