AFP vetting Negros barangay bets

Gilbert Bayoran - The Philippine Star
AFP vetting Negros barangay bets
The military said it expects to complete the deployment of additional troops in rebel-infested areas a week before election day.
AP / Aaron Favila, File

BACOLOD CITY, Philippines — Background checks on candidates for the barangay and Sangguniang Kabataan (SK) elections in Negros Occidental are being conducted amid reports that some of them have links with the New People’s Army (NPA), a military official said yesterday.

Capt. Emil Charlie Jaudian, 303rd Infantry Brigade (IB) Civil Military Operations chief, said they expect to complete the profiling of candidates before the start of the campaign period on May 4.

A total of 23,548 persons filed their certificates of candidacy for the barangay and SK elections in Negros Occidental.

The military said 93 of 662 barangays in the province are infiltrated by communist rebels. Sixty-two of these barangays are likely to be declared election hotspots.

Brig. Gen. Eliezer Losanes, 303rd IB commander, warned voters against choosing candidates with links to communist rebels.

Jessie Suarez, Commission on Elections-Negros Occidental supervisor, sought increased police and military visibility in Toboso, Calatrava, Moises Padilla and Isabela towns, where recent killings were believed perpetrated by  NPA rebels.

The military said it expects to complete the deployment of additional troops in rebel-infested areas a week before election day.

4 held for gun ban

Meanwhile, in Ligao, Albay, security guard Jaymar Mora, 28; farmer Celso Mora, 23, and Jeffrey Mora, 29, of the 92nd Division Reconnaissance Company were arrested for violation of the election gun ban.

Police said the three were riding a motorcycle when one of them fired shots in Barangay Sta. Cruz.

Security guard Henry Palafox, 46, who was wearing civilian clothes, was arrested for holding a shotgun in front of an automotive store in Barangay Centro East, Santiago, Isabela. He failed to show any document when accosted by Senior Superintendent Cornelio Comila of the regional civil security unit.

In Bulacan, Rodrigo Rodriguez, chairman of Barangay Mabalasbalas in San Rafael town, was gunned down by motorcycle-riding men while buying rice also on Tuesday.

Police said the victim, who was on his third term as barangay captain, was not running for any barangay seat. – With Celso Amo, Raymund Catindig, Ramon Efren Lazaro

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