CAMP ELIAS ANGELES, Pili, Camarines Sur – A Masbate politician is the latest victim of the violence which marred the conduct of barangay and SK elections in the Bicol region, a military official said.
First Lieutenant Ariel Anuddin, Commander of the 93rd Division Reconnaissance Company said that town councilor Ronald Ariola was shot dead by two heavily-armed assailants while on his way back to Balud town from Mapili village at around 4:45pm yesterday, Tuesday.
“Kagawad Ronald Ariola was travelling on foot together with the election tellers and poll watchers who were transporting the ballot boxes back to Balud town when two armed men with M16 Rifles suddenly blocked his way and separated him from the group. He was peppered with bullets which caused his instantaneous death,” narrated Annudin through phone call to Major Harold Cabunoc, the 9th Division Spokesperson.
Ariola’s companions scampered to different directions, carrying with them the ballot boxes. They managed to regroup and reached Balud town at around 7:00pm to report the incident to government authorities.
LtCol Anthony Purugganan, Commander of the 9th Infantry Battalion, directed the 93rd Division Reconnaissance Company led by 1st Lieutenant Anuddin to retrieve the cadaver of the victim which was left unattended in the crime scene somewhere in Sitio Palanas in Mapili village.
Together with Balud PNP police force led by Police Inspector Orlando Mesa, the cadaver was finally retrieved at around 12:30am today.
The victim’s body which bore multiple gunshot wounds was brought to Balud town police station for autopsy.
A thorough investigation is underway to identify the perpetrators of this latest violence in Masbate’s polls.
On October 25, three people lay dead and one wounded in another attack in Cawayan town which was also blamed to the political opponents of the victims.
Government forces in Masbate are placed on heightened alert after the elections are reset to this day in Uson town due to ‘non-arrival’ of the ballot boxes in 13 villages of this town.
Major General Ruperto Pabustan, Commander of the 9th Infantry Division, has directed the realignment of some Army forces in the province to ensure the safe conduct of the delayed polls in Uson town.