By Baretang Bikolnon Staff
Contrary to the claims of security enforces, BAYAN Eastern Visayas concluded that Barangay and Sangguniang Kabataan elections (BSKE 2018) in their region have remained highly violent.
BAYAN Eastern Visayas in a statement denied two reports, one from Police Regional Office 8 and a second from the 8th Infantry Division, that BSKE 2018 held Monday were generally peaceful.
The separately issued statements from the PRO 8 and Major Gen. Raul Farnacio of the 8th ID are either based on false/or a lack of reports or are coverups for the blatant election-related violence which transpired in the region in the past few days according to the progressive group.
According to Deputy Regional Director for Operations, PCSUPT Leonardo Ramos Suan, the elections held specifically in the first district of Samar province were generally peaceful. But as early as April 28, a candidate for barangay chairperson was killed in an ambush together with his father in barangay Cabacungan, Calbayog city.
Two local political giants also made headlines after they stood off against each other along the national highway just a few days before the election. Mayor Ronald Aquino and Vice-Governor Jim Tan were seen tailing each other’s convoys in barangay San Policarpio at midnight, May 12.
While there was no exchange of fire, the police blotters from both sides verify that there were attempts to intimidate and tail one another in the dead of the night.
Meanwhile, on May 11 uniformed men in full battle gear and high powered firearms paraded through barangay Capoocan in Calbayog city allegedly kicking on the doors of residences. In the same report, it was indicated that there were election-related killings in Upper Happy Valley area forcing some civilians there to evacuate.
Provincial senior superintendent Nicolas Torre, on the other hand, denies the allegations saying he was there supervising a mere visibility patrol but has yet to confirm the election-related violence in Upper Happy Valley or explained why there was a need to march more than 30 fully armed personnel in an unsuspecting village.
In Eastern Samar, the father of a candidate for the local elections was killed by armed men after being spotted carrying a large sum of money. The victim, a 77-year old Mario Elpedes, was shot dead in barangay Pinanag-on in Borongan city.
Lastly, a man dressed as a police officer was captured in Hinabangan, Samar on May 14 after going around barangay Binobokalan, campaigning for his relatives. Although he was arrested possessing only a toy gun, reports indicate that he was intimidating and harassing voters in the area.
BAYAN Eastern Visayas added there are scattered reports from different media outfits and from communities that have yet to be confirmed.
“The Commission on Elections must conduct immediate investigations regarding these reports and hold the perpetrators accountable for tarnishing the democratic exercise of election participation by way of warlordism and the use of private armed groups, goons and criminal mercenary cliques at the expense of the voting public,” BAYAN Eastern Visayas stated. (BaretangBikolnon.com / Featured Photo from Calbayog Journal)