BY AUBREY SC MAKILAN
ELECTION WATCH/BREAKING NEWS
May 18, 2007 – 2:59pm
Two poll watchers for the Kabataan Party-list were abducted and killed in Capalonga, Camarines Norte.
Based on the party’s press release, Jun Bagasbas, 20, of Ulipanan Jose Panganiban, and Ronilo Vallevare, 16, of Brgy. Old Camp Capalonga, both Kabataan organizers and poll watchers, were allegedly abducted by suspected soldiers on May 15.
It said that the two were on their way home after delivering food to their co-volunteers when they were allegedly abducted by uniformed men near the Brgy. Old Camp Capalong polling place.
On May 16, the two were reportedly found dead along the boundaries of Brgys. Mataqui and Catabaguangan, Capalonga.
On the same day, the military issued a statement that Bagasbas and Vallevare were civilian casualties of an encounter between the New People’s Army and the AFP on May 15.
“This is a very sad period for all vigilant youth and citizens. First the heroic deaths of two teachers in Batangas and now the senseless killing of two youths who have vowed to protect the votes of the youth and people,” said Raymond Palatino, Kabataan national president and first nominee.
Kabataan Party-list called on the Commission on Elections to immediately conduct an investigation on the killings.
“We hold the government accountable for failing to address the climate of impunity that has permeated this election period at the onset,” said Palatino noting that the killings are “undoubtedly election and political-related.”
On May 17, the group also condemned the harassment of its poll watchers in La Union.
Kabataan statement said that the military prevented its poll watchers Luis Santos and Paula Espiritu from entering the provincial canvassing center.
The chief of police, the group said, allegedly approached them and told them that they were not needed in the canvassing. The poll watchers also reported that soldiers were allegedly taking their photographs and video footages.(Bulatlat.com)