By Aaron Recuenco
Soldiers killed three suspected communist rebels in a clash in Jones town of Isabela where campaign materials were also seized, which the military said are proof that the New People’s Army (NPA) has been supporting local national candidates.
Maj. Gen. Pablo Lorenzo, commanding general of the 5th Infantry Division, said the clash erupted when his men raided a lair of the communist rebels on Wednesday in Purok 7 in Barangay San Sebastian based on the tip of local residents.
“The cadavers of the three rebels were recovered along with an M16 rifle, improvised explosive device, and other materials,” said Lorenzo.
Maj. Noriel Tayaban, spokesman of the 5th Infantry Division, said among the materials seized were campaign materials for local candidates.
Among those seized were campaign materials for a senatorial candidate, party-list groups and mayoral and vice-mayoral candidates of Jones, Isabela.
“The campaign materials confiscated is a proof that the NPA has links with some candidates and party-list groups,” said Tayaban.
The military has been accusing NPA of having links with militant national candidates and party-list groups.
It also the NPA of collecting money from local candidates in exchange for support and access on areas controlled by the communist rebels.
Recently, more than 300 local officials, most of the barangay officials, were tagged as paying the NPA with money.
In the 2016 elections, the military said the NPA raked in some P200 million from permit to campaign fees.