Eastern Visayas politicians seek Comelec OK for bodyguards

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TACLOBAN CITY, Philippines – Four governors, four congressmen, two mayors and two other candidates who currently hold no positions in Eastern Visayas are asking the Commission on Elections for permission to let them have bodyguards.

The politicians have applied for permits to be given security escorts because of threats to their lives, according to Senior Superintendent Manuel Cubillo, chief of operations and management of the regional Philippine National Police Command.

He said the local police would assess the threats.

Among those who applied for security details were Governors Sharee Ann Tan of Samar, Gerardo Espina, Jr. of Biliran, Paul Daza of Northern Samar, and Mimiette Bagulaya of Leyte.

Except for Bagulaya, who is running for a provincial board seat representing Leyte’s fourth district, all the governors are seeking re-election.

The other applicants include Representatives Milagrosa Tan and Mel Senen Sarmiento of Samar, Emil Ong of Northern Samar, and Jose Carlos Cari of Leyte’s fifth congressional district.

Outgoing Mayor Eric Codilla of Ormoc in Leyte also asked for a security escort. Codilla is challenging the re-election bid of Representative Lucy Torres Gomez of Leyte’s third district, who did not ask for a bodyguard from Comelec.

Leopoldo Dominico Petilla, who is running for governor unopposed, and his mother, re-electionist Mayor Remedios Petilla of Palo, Leyte also asked for security escorts.

Rosa Jessica Uy-Delgado, who is running for governor in Samar, also made the same request to Comelec.

Delgado is a daughter of Calbayog City Mayor Reynaldo Uy, who was gunned down on May 1, 2011 by still unidentified men. His murder remains unsolved.

Cubillo said those who qualify for bodyguards would be given a maximum of two security escorts who might either come from the Philippine National Police or the Philippine Army.

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