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ALBAY, Philippines – Gunmen struck and killed a barangay chairman in Albay just as the Philippine National Police (PNP) deployed over a thousand law enforcers to the province and other areas in the Bicol region on Monday, August 28.
The killing took place on the first day of the filing of certificates of candidacy.
Lieutenant Colonel Maria Luisa Calubaquid, PNP-Bicol spokesperson, identified the victim as Alex Repato, the incumbent barangay chairman of San Jose in Libon town, Albay.
The 51-year-old Repato was shot dead in his barangay after filing his certificate of candidacy (COC).
Calubaquid said Repato filed his COC at the Commission on Elections (Comelec) office in Centro Poblacion, and Repato was shot several times by still unidentified men when the barangay chairman returned to his village.
Days before Repato’s death, a barangay councilor of Nagpo, Libon, Reliosa Mata, and her husband Alfredo were also shot and killed as they were about to return home.
Albay 3rd District Representative Fernando Cabredo condemned the gun attack and pointed out that Repato was just one of the many victims of gun violence in the area.
Cabredo raised alarm about the unsolved murder cases that have negatively impacted the socio-economic conditions of the town.
On the day of Repato’s murder, PNP regional director, Brigadier General Westrimundo Obinque deployed 1,428 police officers across the Bicol region’s six provinces, including Albay, as the election period started.
The PNP-Bicol has been collaborating with the Comelec, Army, and other government security forces to prevent election-related violence and ensure a peaceful and orderly barangay and Sangguniang Kabataan (SK) elections in the region this October.
The PNP has set up many checkpoints throughout the Bicol region on Monday, mainly to enforce the election gun ban.
Police officials said they have been closely monitoring election hotspots in the region, particularly the municipalities of Libon and Daraga in Albay. – Rappler.com