700 supporters of defeated mayoral bet in Leyte arrested in rally
TACLOBAN CITY, Leyte, Philippines – The police and military arrested around 700 supporters of a defeated mayoral candidate of Baybay City in Leyte early Monday morning for reportedly throwing stones at policemen, injuring several, and for damaging government property during a 3 p.m. rally on Sunday.
Superintendent Carlito Gallardo, chief of Baybay City police, said a joint team of 100 Army soldiers and police officers arrested the supporters of Marilou “Malot” Galenzonga at around 3 a.m. Monday after an 8-hour standoff.
Galenzoga has been accusing Cari of committing “massive” cheating to win. Baybay Mayor Carmen Cari got 30,618 votes against Galenzoga’s 15,421 votes.
Gallardo said Galenzoga and her supporters marched to the Baybay City Hall where they held a rally at around 3 p.m. Sunday.
Gallardo said 33 policemen were deployed at the Baybay City Hall to keep peace and order at the rally.
At one point, supporters of Galenzoga allegedly turned unruly as they started throwing stones at the policemen, some of whom were injured, while several managed to enter the Baybay City Hall through the back door, Gallardo said.
Gallardo identified the seven injured policemen as SPO2 Renaldo Villaber, PO3 Manson Pasada, PO2 Napoleon Gisain, PO2 Agripino Padrigues, PO1 Dream Orit, PO1 Wilfred Canlas and PO1 Junil Cular.
Property such as computers and glass windows, of the Baybay City Hall were also damaged when some of Galenzoga’s supporters forced their way into the building’s back exit, the police chief said.
After the protest, the group of Galenzoga marched to her house.
By 7 p.m., the authorities led by Gallardo went to Galenzoga’s house to arrest her and her group.
“But they refused to surrender despite our pleas. It took us several hours before we decided to get inside the compound,” Gallardo said.
Over 40 Army soldiers and police officers entered the house to arrest Galenzoga and her close aides, he added.
However, they were nowhere to be found as they were believed to have left the house through an exit at the back.
The joint team of Army soldiers and police took about four hours, from 3 a.m. to 7 a.m. on Monday, in transporting Galenzoga’s supporters using vehicles owned by the Baybay City government.
Of the 720 arrested supporters of Galenzoga, 300 women and 40 minors were held at the city office of the Department of Social Welfare and Development.
Gallardo said 227 were detained at the city jail while the rest were brought at the Leyte sub-provincial jail, also in Baybay due to limited space of their facility.
The men detained at the city jail had to squat on the floor or just stood due to the limited space of the city police’s lockup jail. Gallardo said they would be identifying the roles of the arrested supporters in the bloody rally and would only file charges against the leaders and those who directly participated in the stone throwing and in destroying city government property.
Among the charges being considered are destruction of public properties and direct assault, he added.
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