3 bets win barangay polls despite abduction
SAN FRANCISCO, Agusan del Sur—Even if they were held in captivity by communist rebels, three candidates for village council members still won the barangay polls on Oct. 28.
Reelectionist council members Reynaldo Piodos, Balaba Andalique and Marvin Bantuasan won by a landslide in the remote hinterland village of Sabud.
The three, along with reelectionist and unopposed village chair Lito Andalique and militiaman Pepe Subla, were abducted by New People’s Army (NPA) rebels on Oct. 24.
Local NPA spokesperson Aris Francisco said in a statement the hostages were government-backed militiamen, although four of them served as village officials and were standing for reelection in the barangay elections.
Francisco said the captives were taken during a raid the rebels carried out on a detachment of a paramilitary unit supervised by the Army’s 26th Infantry Battalion in Barangay Mansanitas.
But Col. Gregory Cayetano, chief of the Army’s 401st Infantry Brigade based in Agusan del Sur, said in a press statement the victory of the hostages, despite their absence, indicated that they were well-loved by their constituents.
“No amount of NPA threats and intimidation will stop them from imposing their will,” Cayetano said of the residents of Sabud, who still elected the captive village officials. Chris V. Panganiban, Inquirer Mindanao