May 10, 2010
On the eve of election day, Southern Tagalog regional poll-watchdog Kontra Daya, Kontra Karahasan received reports of election-related violence against militant groups in the region.
In Los Baños, Laguna, at around 12:30 mn, 3 members of Kabataan Partylist, a member of Bayan Muna Partylist and Barangay Human Rights Officer Virgilio Tandang were arrested and physically injured by alleged Makati police officers while in a mass-action of residents against the alleged vote-buying and flying-voter scheme of a mayoral candidate.
According to residents, the Los Baños mayoral candidate, Ton Genuino, allegedly sent 33 Greenstar Transit busload full of people from Makati that would serve as his flying voters. Incidents of vote-buying in the evening of May 9 were also observed. Shots were fired in the area of Trace College were around a thousand people clustered to protest the incident.
Four militants were dragged and beaten by the police who claimed that they were holding an illegal assembly. The police who were heavily armed with M-16 and M-14 rifles had no name plates while their mobile vehicles were found to have no plate numbers. The four who were violently arrested by the PNP were Kabataan Regional Coordinator John Paulo Bautista, Kabataan Regional Staff Leo XL Fuentes and Vincent Baracao and Bayan Muna Regional Staff Miguel Portea. Fuentes, handcuffed, was dragged by the police mobile. He and Tandang, also handcuffed, were brought to the police municipal station.
Bagong Alyansang Makabayan – Southern Tagalog, convenor of Kontra Daya, Kontra Karahasan condemned the use of violence by the police. According to Tin Macabetcha, Secretary General of BAYAN-ST “It is becoming evident that the police are being used for electoral fraud and violence by powerful politicians. It is questionable why members of the Makati police are deployed in Los Baños, Laguna.” The militants have staged a condemnation rally in front of the municipal police station to release the illegally detained individuals.
Meanwhile, in Roxas town, Oriental Mindoro, a pastor was harassed by military elements for being involved with the partylist group Katribu. According to Reverend Hermie Allera, coordinator of the militant indigenous group around 3 trucks of military men in full battle-gear pulled over to their location. One military officer approached Allera and accused him of being a member of the New People’s Army.
Military elements in full battle gear were also sighted at the Makabayan Coalition People’s Center at Perez Park, Lucena City after a solidarity night was held with the People’s International Observers’ Mission, an internationally based poll watchdog.
“We fear that more electoral violence may occur in the next hours of election day. The culture of state terrorism of the Arroyo regime is again felt by the people yearning for genuine change,” Macabetcha said. Simultaneous with the opening of election day, the militants will stage an indignation rally condemning the electoral violence. (Bulatlat.com)
Tin Macabetcha, BAYAN-ST Sec. General