BAGUIO CITY: A Sangguniang Bayan (SB) candidate in Baay-Licuan town in Abra was killed by alleged New Peoples Army (NPA) guerillas on Tuesday afternoon over his alleged refusal to pay the P20,000 permit-to-campaign fee imposed by the rebels.
Crispin Maguelang was reportedly taken by the rebels from his house in the village of Dominglay, Baay-Licuan and brought to a remote barangay, Bayabas, in Malibcong town, where he was shot dead.
The killing, the first execution perpetrated by the NPA over fees exacted to politicians campaigning in the supposed rebel-controlled areas, came a day before Philippine National Police (PNP) chief Director General Ricardo Marquez visited Abra, which was earlier declared among the election watchlist areas (EWAs).
Cordillera police director Chief Supt. Ulysses Abellera, quoting reports from the military stationed in Licuan-Baay and Malibcong towns, said Maguelang was attending a wedding when the alleged rebels took him and brought him to the house of Estimo Balug, where he was shot three times on the abdomen.
A letter was reportedly left by the rebels to the village chairman in Bayabas before fleeing.
Maguelang’s body was initially brought to Barangay Buneg in nearby Lacub town, and later to Bangued, Abra’s capital town.
The victim’s political ally in the National Unity Party (NUP), Abra congressional bet Joseph Sto. Niño Bernos, who is the incumbent mayor of La Paz, strongly condemned the killing and demanded justice.
Also in December, Bernos’ closest political aide – Noel Belena – was felled by assassins’ bullets while on his way home to La Paz town. No positive developments have resulted in the probe.
There was no statement from the Abra-based Agustin Begnalen Command of the CPP-NPA on Maguelang’s murder, but Abellera said the military has indicated that he was taken because of his “sins with the NPA”.