Comelec places two more areas under its control
Two more areas were placed under the control of the Commission on Election (Comelec) five days before the election, putting these at 16.
In a joint press conference, Comelec chairman Saidamen Pagarungan announced the inclusion of the municipality of Pilar in Abra and the whole province of Misamis Occidental under the Comelec control.
Pagarungan said it is the first time he exercise his emergency power to place an area under Comelec control "considering the proximity of the elections which is only five days from now."
"In Misamis Occidental, its province wide because of the unanimous recommendation of the members of the regional joint security control center composed of the Regional Election Director Francisco Pobe, Brig. Gen. Benjamin Acorda, the PNP regional director, Maj. Gen. Wilbur Mamawag of the 4th ID and Maj. Gen. Generoso Ponio, the commander of the 1st ID," he said.
"They were unanimous in recommending that the province of Misamis Occidental be declared under Comelec control because of their fear for the possible spillover of the related violence in the province and other municipalities," he added.
Pagarungan said the municipality of Pilar in Abra was also placed under Comelec control following reports he received on the alleged involvement in partisan politics.
"Just recently I received confidential reports from our regional election director Atty. Tabilas and also the petition of the LGU in Pilar disclosing the apparent bias of the local police detachment in Pilar, Abra and also the threats and intimidation to supporters of some candidates in Pilar," he said.
"With this revelation and the recommendation of Comelec regional director and the LGU I invoked my emergency power under Comelec Resolution No. 10777 to declare an area under Comelec control in urgent and meritorious cases," he added.
Pagarungan also noted he relayed the matter to PNP chief Gen. Dionardo Carlos for immediate action which is to relieve all personnel from the entire police detachment in Pilar for peaceful and honest election in the area.
Carlos said he ordered the replacement of the police personnel assigned in the detachment in Pilar which is composed of around 20 to 30 policemen.
"When I receive information I immediately have it validated by the field commanders. So for Pilar, Abra I just texted the RD Gen. Ronald Lee that effective immediately we will remove all the Pilar, Abra municipal police station (MPS) personnel and will be immediately replaced. I will be seeing Ronald Lee this afternoon," he said.
"It is easy to replace them and the personnel that will be installed there knows the area. Normally coming from the mobile force or regional mobile force or somebody who has been assigned before in the town of Pilar. So it will not become a problem. We can immediately adjust," he added. Robina Asido/DMS