CAMP ELIAS ANGELES, Pili, Camarines Sur – Three people lay dead and one was injured in the first recorded poll-related violent incident in the Bicol region.
Quoting the report from Senior Police Officer 1 Samuel Barredo of Cawayan town in Masbate, Major Harold Cabunoc, Spokesperson of the 9th Infantry Division said that the political supporters of incumbent Gilotong village chief Jeffrey Malagad were ambushed at around 5:00pm yesterday (October 25).
“The victims were casually walking in that part of Gilotong village which is a known bailiwick of Malagad’s political opponent, Gelyn Bacolod. Suddenly, bursts of gunfire and a commotion were heard as the victims passed by a group of Bacolod’s supporters,”said Barredo.
Barredo identified the victims as Bienvenido Malagad and Tranquilin Malagad, siblings of Jeffrey who is seeking reelection in today’s delayed polls in Masbate.
Another relative, Jekyll Malagad, sustained gunshot wounds on his left knee and was rushed to a local hospital for treatment.
Meanwhile, a certain Miguel Daligdig was also killed when one of the victims tried to fight back using a bladed weapon.
Daligdig sustained serious wounds after he was hacked by an unidentified companion of Malagad’s supporters.
Senior Superintendent Henry Ranola, Chief of Special Task Force Masbate, has immediately sent additional policemen to reinforce the police force guarding the polls in the island village of Gilotong.
As of this time, the identities of the assailants could not be identified due to the absence of credible witnesses. Malagad’s supporters quickly blamed the killings to Bacolod’s group since the crime happened in “their area”.
The police is currently conducting a thorough investigation while ensuring the safe conduct of polls in the village.
The barangay and Sangguniang Kabataan elections were generally peaceful in the whole of Bicol Region during yesterdays initial voting which was marred by delayed arrivals of election paraphernalia.
Masbate has started its polls today after the declaration of its postponement by the COMELEC due to the late arrival of the election paraphernalia.
At 7:00am today, two UH-1H helicopters were deployed to transport the ballot boxes to remote villages in Caramoan peninsula.
Major General Ruperto Pabustan, Commander of the 9th Infantry Division, has directed the Army forces to closely monitor the polls and continue its security patrols to preempt more atrocities.