Don’t use Calbayog mayor’s killing to push political agenda, group tells solon

Rep. Edgar Nary Sarmiento at the Kapihan sa Pantalan on October 10, 2019.

This file photo shows Samar Rep. Edgar Sarmiento at the Kapihan sa Pantalan on Oct. 10, 2019. (Photo by RYAN LEAGOGO /

MANILA, Philippines — A governance watchdog has urged Samar 1st District Rep. Edgar Sarmiento not to use the death of Calbayog Mayor Ronald Aquino to push a political agenda.

In a statement issued on Monday, Pinoy Aksyon for Governance and the Environment (Pinoy Aksyon) said officials of Samar province should focus on resolving the ambush that resulted in the death of Aquino and his two aides last March 8.


“It does not contribute to solving the problem ‘parading’ the body of the slain mayor in Catbalogan City, some 60 kilometers away,” BenCy Ellorin, Pinoy Aksyon chairperson, said.

He was referring to the funeral procession, which passed through Catbalogan City on its way to the Calbayog Memorial Park, where the slain mayor was buried.

Ellorin pointed out that the procession passed through two congressional districts.

Calbayog is in the 1st District of Samar and Catbalogan is in the 2nd District.

Ellorin said many residents of Catbalogan expressed their displeasure on social media, claiming Sarmiento was behind the “political circus.”

“Bad taste to say the least and we understand the feelings of Catbaloganons of being dragged into the tragic violence,” Ellorin said.

There’s a time and place for politics, he said. But the priority should be to give justice to the slain mayor and the people of Calbayog.

“Muddling the issue, we believe, does not serve the ends of justice,” Ellorin added.

Sarmiento’s camp called the accusation “black propaganda,” saying that the lawmaker’s actions were solely meant to seek justice for Aquino and restore peace and order in Calbayog City and the 1st District of Samar.


“We have been very consistent since day 1, that our whole intention is to seek justice for Mayor Ronaldo Aquino and to restore the peace and order in Calbayog City and First District of Samar,” Sarmiento’s chief-of-staff, Angeline Calusaran, told in a text message.

“Lately, there has been much black propaganda coming out on social media. We’re so sad that the killing of Mayor Aquino is being used as an avenue for politicking. The elections are still a long way off,” she added, her statement partly in Filipino.

In a Facebook post last week, Sarmiento said the death of Aquino should not be used as an opportunity for politicking but should instead be a way to unit residents of Samar to achieve justice and peace in the province.

Ito ang aking opisyal na pahayag tungkol sa mga paninira na ipinaratang sa akin. The “black propaganda” attacking and…

Posted by Edgar Mary S. Sarmiento on Tuesday, March 30, 2021