PNP: Manila, Taguig violence isolated, but Comelec eyes Taguig as ‘area of concern’
Cecille Suerte Felipe, Sheila Crisostomo (The Philippine Star) - May 7, 2013 - 12:00am

MANILA, Philippines - Despite the violent incidents in Manila and Taguig over the weekend, the Philippine National Police (PNP) said yesterday it will not consider the two cities as areas of concern in connection with the May 13 elections.

Chief Superintendent Miguel Antonio, Safe and Fair Elections (SAFE) task force deputy commander, said these incidents in Manila and Taguig were considered isolated.

“Our police commanders were directed to deploy personnel to maintain peace and order in the areas. Violent incidents in Taguig and Manila are isolated and there is no need to place them under areas of concern,” Antonio said.

The Commission on Elections (Comelec), however, is considering putting Taguig City in the list of “areas of immediate concern” following the violent incident.

He added that an investigation will be conducted on allegations that policemen were duty in both political exercises but did not act to prevent violence.

Director Lina Sarmiento, Philippine National Police (PNP) Police Community Relations chief, reminded candidates to coordinate with local police to ensure the proper deployment of policemen and prevent similar incidents.

Police story

In a statement, the PNP said Taguig police officers prevented a fracas from getting out of hand after supporters of mayoral candidate Rica Tiñga tried to enter the City Hall compound.

At about 9 a.m., Tiñga and about 40 supporters allegedly attempted to go into the compound to ask city government employees to vote for her.

Personnel of the city government’s Peace and Order Safety Office closed the compound gates, telling Tiñga and her supporters that the City Hall is closed on Saturday. The trouble started when an unidentified person threw stones at the POSO personnel, the PNP said.

Two POSO employees were hurt in the confrontation.

At around 11 p.m. Saturday, Manila police officers responded to hecklers throwing stones during a political rally led by Manila mayoral candidate and former President Joseph Estrada and re-electionist Vice Mayor Isko Moreno.

Immediate concern

Comelec Chairman Sixto Brillantes said the poll body is “trying to determine the facts” in the clash in Taguig.

“There is now a request from the side of Tiñga that Taguig be placed under ‘area of immediate concern,’” he said.

Brillantes said he will coordinate with PNP chief Director General Alan Purisima on this matter, since listing Taguig as an area of immediate concern means augmenting the police forces in the city and replacing the city police chief, “so we are seriously considering this.”

Tiñga, daughter of retired Supreme Court Justice Dante Tiñga, complained that 11 of her supporters – as well as a candidate for councilor, actor Ervic Vijandre – were hurt when POSO personnel dispersed them.

Tiñga’s camp said lawyers are preparing to file charges of grave coercion, grave threats, serious physical injuries, attempted homicide and robbery against re-electionist Mayor Lani Cayetano and POSO personnel, led by Kim Pautin. – With Mike Frialde

CHIEF SUPERINTENDENT MIGUEL ANTONIO CITY CITY HALL COMELEC CHAIRMAN SIXTO BRILLANTES DIRECTOR GENERAL ALAN PURISIMA MANILA AND TAGUIG PHILIPPINE NATIONAL POLICE POLICE TAGUIG
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