Ecija mayor’s kin held for gun possession during Monday’s polls

JAEN, Nueva Ecija – A municipal councilor and a lawyer-son of town mayor Sylvia Austria, his uncle-barangay captain, and two others on Monday were arrested by the police for alleged possession of long and short firearms while in two separate vehicles parked in front of an elementary school at the height of the local elections in this town.

Provincial police commander Col. Leon Victor Rosete said arrested were attorney  Silvestre Austria, 30, a town councilor; his uncle-barangay captain Michael Austria, 47; Mario Jalova, 56; and Celso Vicente, 53; all of Bgy. San Josef (Navao).

Silvestre is a son of Mayor Austria while Michael is her brother-in-law.

A fifth suspect identified as Lito Antonio of Bgy. Putlod, this town, eluded arrest.

Rosete said his men received a phone call informing them that a group of armed men was allegedly seen in front of the Jaen Central School. He immediately dispatched a police team to the area.

The suspects were found in possession of long and short firearms aboard a gray Toyota Hi-Ace van and a black Toyota Vios Sedan.

First Provincial Mobile Force company commander Lt. Col. Alexander  Aurelio said charges for violation of  Republic Act 10591 and the Omnibus Election Code were filed against the suspects.