BACOLOD CITY, Negros Occidental, Philippines – The hunt for a lone jail bolter continues across the province more than a month after he and a band of alleged criminals sprung themselves from a district jail.
As jail deputies hunt Alejandro Montoya, the war for the hearts and minds of an estimated 300,000 voters also continues to intensify in this urban capital.
Montoya is the last of the five bolters who is still on the loose after his fellow escapees – Daniel Tamon, Marvin Celeste, Danilo Celeste, and Francisco Epogon – were either killed or recaptured.
While Montoya continues to evade his trackers, a clash on Monday, 2 August, between soldiers and rebels in Binalbagan town ushered in the peak of tiempo muerto and sparked a series of skirmishes between pursuing troopers and fleeing guerrillas that ended in a Thursday, 5 August clash that led to the death of a rebel.
The Army also reported the capture of two others, and the wounding of an Army private and a civilian in the upland community of Bugalo in Santol, an upland village in Binalbagan town.
Third Division spokesman Cenon Pancito III said the Binalbagan clash indicates a heightened effort by Negros rebels to comply with orders from their national organs to intensify attacks and “conduct atrocities.”
Below is the Radyo X interview by DNX Executive Editor Julius D Mariveles with Pancito who also pointed out that the rebels are trying to project strength even if they are already a “spent force.”
He added that with the general elections in 2022 only several months away,
As the hunts for fugitives and rebels continue, the acoustic and digital clashes also intensify between partisans of probable rivals Albee Benitez and sitting Mayor Evelio Leonardia.
Like soldiers and rebels clashing on the battlefield, political partisans continue to engage in acoustic combat on the airwaves and digital skirmishes on social media as trolls do proxy combat for their principals.
Supporters and foes of former Third District Cong. Abelardo Alfredo “Albee” Benitez, however, finally heard him speak for the first time on a local press outlet since he declared his plan to run as Bacolod City mayor after he granted DNX a one on one interview at the start of last week.
Meanwhile, both City Hall and Capitol officials are wary about the spread of the Delta variant of the SARSCoV2 virus that causes COVID19.
Towards the end of the week, acting City Health Officer Edwin Miraflor confirmed only the Alpha, Beta, and Theta variants have been detected here.
As vaccinations are being rolled out across the province, police here are also hunting criminal variants that have begun hold ups and robberies including one that included the carnapping of the victim store owner’s vehicle that was used as an escape car.