Negros town placed under Comelec control

Gilbert Bayoran - The Philippine Star
Negros town placed under Comelec control
The entire police force of the town was replaced by personnel of the Regional Mobile Force Battalion led by Lt. Col. Adrian Acollador.

BACOLOD CITY, Philippines — Moises Padilla town in Negros Occidental was placed under the control of the Commission on Elections (Comelec) yesterday amid poll-related incidents.

The entire police force of the town was replaced by personnel of the Regional Mobile Force Battalion led by Lt. Col. Adrian Acollador. The Negros Occidental police also deployed 3,251 of its personnel to render election duties.

“Don’t think of this negatively... I hope our people will view this as a response of the government, especially the Comelec, to ensure that elections will be held peacefully,” Comelec Commissioner Antonio Kho said during a consultative conference with municipal government officials.

The Comelec created a task force headed by Capiz provincial election officer Jessie Suarez to coordinate with local officials in implementing the poll body’s control over the area.

Kho said municipal officials would continue with their normal functions, but would be under the scrutiny of the Comelec.

He also ordered an inventory of firearms owned by the municipal government.

Mayor Magdaleno Peña, who met with Kho after the consultative conference and change of police command, said he supports the decision of the Comelec.

On April 25, Councilor Michael Garcia, who was seeking reelection, and his uncle Mark were killed in an ambush in Barangay Inolingan. Councilor Jolomar Hilario was shot dead by suspected communist rebels who stormed his house on March 30.

Moises Padilla is the third area placed under Comelec control after Daraga in Albay and Cotabato City.

Philippine National Police (PNP) chief Gen. Oscar Albayalde said 943 towns and cities have been declared election areas of concern.

Albayalde said 543 were classified under category red or areas of grave concern; 243, category orange or areas of immediate concern, and 155, category yellow or areas of concern.

Disqualification raps vs Eastern Samar governor

In Eastern Samar, a disqualification case was filed against Gov. Marcelo Picardal, who is seeking reelection, over alleged vote buying.

In a five-page petition, Borongan City residents Nelson Cortez and Cyril Jesus Alzate alleged that Picardal’s “agents, minions, and supporters distributed money and other material considerations to influence the voters and other persons” to ensure his victory in the elections. 

They claimed Picardal gave money to voters Nelia and Virgilia, both surnamed Belas, Rixine Quintanar and Lina Abac supposedly as reimbursements for  hospital expenses they incurred last year.

The petitioners said envelopes, which contained money and small calendars with Picardal’s pictures were given to the voters.

Vote buying

Following the arrest of 10 supporters of Cavite gubernatorial candidate  Juanito Victor “Jonvic” Remulla on Saturday, Albayalde urged the public to report incidents of vote buying.

“They have to report it to us. Kailangan dito ebidensya,” he said.

Remulla’s supporters were charged with violation of the Omnibus Election Code yesterday. – With Emmanuel Tupas, Sheila Crisostomo

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