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CIDG agents collar armed vote buying suspect in Quezon, 2 others skip

Catalla (right) shortly before he was arrested while former mayor Romar Portes (in green shirt), the father of incumbent mayor Shierre Ann Palicpic (in green shirt) while being pacified by his aide as he tries to stop the arresting lawmen. Below is a copy of the sample ballots seized from the suspects

by Gemi Formaran

LUCENA CITY - Criminal Investigation and Detection Group (CIDG)- Quezon on Wednesday arrested an armed civilian while in the act of vote buying while his two cohorts including a woman managed to evade arrest at Brgy. Castillo, here.

CIDG- Quezon head, Chief Insp. Eliot Eusebio identified the collared suspect as Raymond Catalla, 35, and resident of Brgy. Mayhay.

While Catalla was being arrested, Eusebio said Michelle Glory and his unidentified male companion were able to run away on a tricycle.

Eusebio said his men with the help of some residents in the village confronted the suspects as they were reportedly engaged in vote buying in favor of incumbent Mayor Shierre Ann Portes-Palicpic and her partymates and political allies at around 4:00 p.m.

During their arrest, the suspects yielded P20,000 cash, 36 pieces of sample ballot containing the names of Palicpic and her allies including Senatorial candidates Bong Go, Juan Ponce Enrile and Lorenzo Tañada, and House Minority Leader Danilo Suarez who is running for Quezon Governor, 33 pieces of voter’s list and their precint number and a list containing the names of 34 voters from Brgy. Mapagong.

When frisked, a loaded Parabellum cal. 9mm pistol and 3 magazines loaded with 20 rounds of bullets were found on Catalla’s possession.

In a video footage recorded by residents before and during the arrest shows Catalla together with Palicpic’s father, former mayor Romar Portes and his male companions as they engaged in a commotion with CIDG agents and residents.

The former mayor was seen questioning the arresting lawmen but he was pacified by one of his aides who led him to his pick up truck before leaving the village.

The suspects will be charged with violations of Section 261 (a) of Omnibus Election Code of the Philippines while illegal possession of firearms and violations of gun ban law will also be filed against Catalla.

At the CIDG- Quezon detention cell, Catalla denied the charges against him but he admitted to this writer that he works as an aide to former mayor Portes.

Palicpic is running against businesswoman Belen Batilo, village chief Arnel Amandy and businessman Gerry Luce.