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Communists abduct reelectionist mayor’s supporters

MAP of Bansud, Oriental MindoroSuspected New People’s Army rebels have abducted four supporters of a mayoral candidate allegedly to force him to pay permit-to-campaign fee in Bansud, Oriental Mindoro.

Police Lt. Col. Socrates Faltado, spokesman of the Philippine National Police Region 4-B (Mindoro Occidental and Oriental, Marinduque, Romblon, and Palawan area), said among those abducted was  Chairman Peter delos Santos of Barangay Malo, Bansud.

The three others were militiaman Raymund Malupa, Ricky Capillo, and Louie Mebdinille.  Among those abducted was a woman, according to Faltado.

“Accordingly, Barangay Chairman delos Santos is a known supporter of the incumbent and re-electionist Mayor Angel Saulong,” said Faltado.

He said the four victims were travelling together at around 7 a.m. yesterday when they were intercepted by at least 10 armed men believed to be NPA members operating in the area.

All of the armed men were clad in military uniform.

The four victims were taken to the jungles of Mindoro and are now the subject of police and military rescue operations.

Faltado said Saulong received a text message from the NPA on April 4 demanding payment of permit-to-campaign fee to enable him to campaign in their area. “They threatened harm to the candidate if he fails to pay,” said Faltado.

Authorities said the NPA has been demanding permit to campaign fees ranging from P20,000 for municipal and city council candidates to P250,000 for congressional and gubernatorial bets.

The Department of the Interior and Local Government had earlier disclosed that there are local candidates, including incumbent officials, who are in cahoots with communist rebels.

Interior and Local Government Secretary Eduardo Ano  warned that local candidates found paying permit to campaign fees will be slapped with administrative and criminal charges. (Aaron Recuenco)