North Cotabato mayor escapes assassination try

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KIDAPAWAN CITY — Mayor Christopher Cuan of Libungan, North Cotabato is convinced that he was the target of the assassin who fired, using a sniper’s rifle, from a parked white van on Monday this week.

“Who else but me,” Cuan said in Filipino.

“Lucky enough someone called my attention and that saved my life,” he told reporters in an interview Wednesday in Libungan town.

Cuan escaped unhurt in the 1:20 p.m. attempt on his life, but a utility worker near him was wounded.

“I was walking toward my vehicle and I noticed a van parked in the highway in front of the town hall perimeter,” Cuan recalled.

“I thought it was just an ordinary passenger van,” he added.

“As I walked, someone called me, saying ‘mayor’, so I turned to see who called my attention,” Cuan said.

The mayor said he was turning around when he heard gunfire and the janitor behind him was hit so he dropped and ran back to his office.

Cuan was referring to town hall janitor Alejandro Catulong, 53, of Barangay Kabpangi who sustained bullet wounds in his left arm.

Senior Insp. Orphie Julian, Libungan town police chief, said the van quickly sped toward the direction of Midsayap after the incident.

Witnesses told police that they noticed the white van parked in front of the town hall as early as 9 a.m. (PNA)