AFP probes NPA campaigning for presidential bet
MANILA — The military is checking reports that communist rebels campaigning for national candidates in Samar have threatened to execute local officials if their bets lose in their areas.
Fifteen fully armed New People’s Army members were seen campaigning for a certain presidential candidate and a congressional candidate in Barangay Candomacol, Motiong in Samar.
Brig. Gen. Restituto Padilla, Armed Forces of the Philippines spokesperson, said the rebels threatened to execute barangay officials if their endorsed candidates lost in their respective areas.
In a press briefing in Camp Aguinaldo, Padilla, however, did not name the candidates being lobbied for by the rebels, to avoid being dragged into political partisan conflict.
“I believe there was no gunfire, no violence that ensued. We are following up on these reports and the necessary activities to secure these areas so that people can freely choose who they want to vote for without being intimidated by these armed groups,” he said.
He added that the residents of barangays Calapi, Bunga, and Malobago in Motiong, Samar, requested the military for additional troops due to the presence of the NPA.
“The AFP has responded to these reports and continues to monitor threat groups like the NPA who are terrorizing our communities,” Padilla said.
Two days ago, around 20 NPA rebels gathered 30 residents of Barangay De-it in Matuguinao, Samar, who were political leaders of a mayoralty candidate that they were trying to influence.
Padilla assured the public that ground units have been providing convoy escort, patrols, clearing and security operations, and joint checkpoint operations in cooperation with the Philippine National Police.
In the towns of San Francisco, Puro, Tudela, and Pilar in Cebu, personnel from the 47th Infantry Battalion delivered hundreds of vote counting machines, ballot box with body and top covers, and battery kits. SFM/rga
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