NPA rebels seize 6 candidates
DAVAO CITY, Philippines - At least 6 candidates were seized by communist guerillas in Loreto town, Agusan del Sur, 4 days before the barangay elections, the military said.
Captain Alberto Caber, chief of the public information office of the military's Eastern Mindanao Command, said an estimated 30 members of the New People's Army entered Barangay Sabud early Thursday morning, October 24, and seized the candidates.
The candidates were identified as Lito Andalaque, Balaba Andalaque, Reynaldo Piodos, Marvin Bantuasan, Gina Bantuasan and Pepe Subla.
The barangay elections will be held on Monday, October 28. Voters will be back to the manual exercise after two automated polls in 2010 and 2013. They will be handwriting on the ballots again and dropping them into the familiar yellow boxes from elections of old.
A total of 809,136 candidates – 94,124 for barangay captain and 715,012 for kagawad (councilor) – will be running in 42,028 barangays across the country. The number of registered voters for the barangay polls increased to 54,051,626, up by 2 million compared to the midterm elections last May 13. (READ: P400M still needed for barangay polls)
Caber said the incident proves that the NPA is trying to "influence" the barangay elections.
The local government of Loreto is now organizing a crisis management team to deal with the problem while combined forces from the military and the police have been conducting rescue and pursuit operations.
A soldier was hurt in a rescue operation launched by government forces, Caber said.
Agusan del Sur is identified as one of the strongholds of the NPA in the country. Rappler.com