Living dangerously as a lawmaker in RP

PHILIPPINE NEWS SERVICE — THE Philippines is perhaps one of the few countries in the world where lawmakers could live dangerously.

Some of them perish in accidents and the more unlucky ones lose their lives to assassins.

Basilan Rep. Wahab Akbar, reportedly one of the founders of the dreaded Abu Sayyaf Group (ASG), was the latest congressman to be assassinated, — along with three others — in a bomb explosion that ripped through the south wing entrance of the Batasan building on Tuesday night.

Akbar, also a former governor of Basilan, died at about 10:25 p.m. while undergoing treatment at the Far Eastern University Hospital in Quezon City where he was transferred from the Fairview Hospital where he was initially brought following the blast that also killed Marian “Maan” Bustaliño, a niece and chief of staff of Negros Oriental Rep. Pryde Henry Teves, and Marcial Talbo, driver of GABRIELA Party List Rep. Luzviminda Ilagan. The fourth fatality was Hayaduni Julasiri, a friend and consultant of Akbar.

Teves, a nephew of Finance Secretary Margarito Teves, and Ilagan were wounded in the blast, along with at least nine others who suffered serious burns, shrapnel wounds and other injuries.

Last year, an incumbent congressman and a former lawmaker were killed separately by assassins: Abra Rep. Luis Bersamin was gunned down after standing as wedding sponsor at the Mt. Carmel Church parking lot in Quezon City on Dec. 16, 2006 and former Masbate Rep. Fausto Seachon Jr. was shot in Caloocan City in June 2006.

Henry Lanot, who served as congressman in the lone district of Pasig City from 2001 until he was unseated by Noel Cariño in the last day of the 12th Congress in 2004, was killed while waiting for a friend in a restaurant on Shaw Blvd. in Pasig City in April 2005.

Representatives Rodolfo Aguinaldo of Cagayan and Marcial Punzalan Jr. of Quezon were killed separately shortly before the May 2001 elections allegedly by the communist New People’s Army.

Rep. Tito Espinosa of Masbate was shot and killed just across the Commission on Audit building on IBP Road shortly after leaving the Batasan building on March 1995.

Seven years before his murder, Espinosa’s elder brother, Moises Espinosa Sr., was gunned down on the tarmac of the Masbate airport in 1988 shortly after his arrival from Manila.

A few weeks after Rep. Moises Espinosa’s murder, former Assemblyman Jolly Fernandez was also killed in an ambush in Masbate in what investigators suspected as revenge for Espinosa’s killing.

In the early 1970s, then Ilocos Sur Rep. Floro Crisologo, father of incumbent Quezon City solon Vincent “Bingbong” Crisologo, was gunned down while hearing mass at a church in Vigan town.