Saturday, July 27, 2013

Some brgy officials linked to NPA

From the Visayan Daily Star (Jul 27): Some brgy officials linked to NPA

With the October 28 barangay and Sangguniang Kabataan elections fast approaching, the issue of linkages between some barangay officials and the New People’s Army has again cropped up.

Col. Jon Aying, 303rd Infantry Brigade commander, yesterday said they have testimonies of some former rebels who used to work with barangay officials, when they are still active in the movement.

In July 2011, a member of the NPA, identified as Edgar Sagure Lopez, who turned out to be a purok president, died in an encounter with troopers of the 6th Regional Public Safety Battalion in Brgy. Paitan, Escalante City, military records show.

A video footage showing some barangay officials and local government health workers in Brgy. Malasibog, Escalante City, was also recovered by government troopers after an encounter with rebels in the place.

If they had conspired with the rebel group, or worked with them for the objectives of the CPP-NPA, especially inciting people to work towards violence or lawlessness, they (barangay officials) should be arrested and detained, Aying said.

He, however, said they are trying to balance things, as they are also victims of the situation, while at the same time, violators of the law.

“If the barangay officials have not committed any violations, then we have to go through transformation, changing and winning back their hearts and minds,” Aying said.

We want them to integrate into the mainstream society, but if they have violated the laws, justice has to be served, he said.

Negros Occidental has 601 barangays, aside from the 61 of Bacolod City.

Brig. Gen. Aurelio Baladad, the new commander of the 3rd Infantry Division, discourages voting for barangay officials who are being supported by the NPA.

Baladad also said the Philippine Army in Negros and Panay will assist the Comelec and Philippine National Police in the maintenance of peace and order during the October 28 barangay and SK elections.

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