BAGUIO, Philippines – A candidate for barangay kagawad in Abra was arrested on Monday, April 30, by policemen from 3 towns there for allegedly sexually molesting a minor, a boy.
A joint tracker team of Bangued, Pidigan, and San Juan towns arrested 27-year-old tricycle driver Romnick Balubar Blaza, who had filed his candidacy at Barangay Banacao in Bangued.
The arrest was made by virtue of an arrest warrant for the crime of violation of Section 5 (b) of Republic Act 7610 issued by Judge Corpus Alzate of the Regional Trial Court Branch 2 in Bangued, Abra. Bail is set at P80,000.
Blaza joins a long list of Abra barangay candidates who are at a risk of being disqualified for various offenses.
Also last Monday, the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency released a list of 207 barangay officials (3 already former officials), whom it believes are linked to the illegal drug trade based on classified intelligence reports.
Although Blaza was not on the list, 22 of his provincemates – 7 of them barangay captains – are on the list. Thirty-four of those on the list come from the Cordillera, 6 coming from Apayao, and two from Baguio City. After Albay, Abra has the most number of barangay officials among provinces in the PDEA list.
This was despite the police announcement that Abra was the first Cordillera province to be declared drug-free on January 26, 2017. Apayao was declared drug-free on February 13, 2017. PDEA also announced last July that Cordillera was the region with the lowest percentage of drug-affected barangays at 3.49%.
Abra is also the province to first draw blood in the barangay elections, with a barangay councilor shot dead during the first day of filing of certificates of candidacy in April.
Kagawad Victor Dela Cruz Pisco of Immuli, Pidigan, Abra, was aboard an Elf truck with his wife and sister, driving along the Pidigan highway in the late afternoon of April 15, when assassins aboard a motorcycle overtook the truck and shot them.
Pisco died in the hospital while his two companions were injured. – Rappler.com