A losing mayoralty bet in Baybay City, Leyte province on Thursday appealed to the Philippine National Police (PNP), the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) and the Commission on Human Rights (CHR) to address the continuous abuse of her supporters in the said city.
Political neophyte Malot Galenzoga of the United Nationalist Alliance (UNA), who lost to re-elected Mayor Carmen Cari of Baybay City of the Liberal Party (LP) in the May 2013 elections, condemned Baybay policemen for entering her residence and arresting hundreds of her supporters on July 1, even without search and arrest warrants.
Galenzoga said she and her supporters were conducting a peaceful protest on June 30 at Baybay City hall to denounce what she claimed as illegal proclamation of Cari as winning candidate. Violence erupted when a policeman hit one of her photographers without provocation, prompting the crowd to boo at the policemen. Stone throwing ensued, injuring hundreds of her supporters and policemen.
At around 8 p.m. the same day, elements of PNP and the Army’s 78th Infantry Battalion went to the compound where Galenzoga lived and insisted that they be allowed to enter the premises, but they were refused entry because they could not present any search warrant.
The police, backed by the Army, returned at around 3 a.m. the next day but still without a search warrant. When they were denied entry again, they forced their way in this time, ramming the gates of the compound with a garbage truck,” Galenzoga said.
She then received a text message telling her to leave the premises as soon as possible. “Kinailangan naming talunin yung mataas na pader, tapos magtago sa putik for five hours. Eleven kami. Sabi samin kailangan naming makaalis ng Leyte as soon as possible [We had to jump over a high fence and hide in deep mud for five hours. There were eleven of us. We were told to leave Leyte as soon as possible].”
Galenzoga wanted to ask anyone to help her, but she couldn’t because the policemen took away her phone. One of her friends rented a van for them to use to escape to the nearest port, where they bought tickets to board a ship to Manila. She had to leave her supporters, hundreds of them arrested and jailed without warrant.
Galenzoga claims Cari committed political fraud. She said Cari cheated so she could continue the 32-year-old Loreto-Cari dynasty in the area. But the latter vehemently denies such claims, saying that she won by more than 15,000 votes.
Galenzoga said her group’s electoral protest was ignored because the Caris hold so much power in Leyte that no one wanted to oppose them. She said even lawyers in the area were too scared to offer them assistance against the Caris.