MANILA, Philippines – The issue regarding the melee in Manila last Saturday involving reelectionist Manila Vice-Mayor Isko Moreno and policemen has been overblown and is not a justification to declare Manila an election hotspot, Comelec Chairman Sixto Brillantes Jr. said Wednesday.
“This is a small matter that has been exaggerated and does not need our intervention,” Brillantes told reporters in Filipino.
Moreno (Francisco Domagoso in real life) and several city councilors were arrested last weekend for holding a bingo game in Santa Cruz district, Manila. He claimed that the arresting officers had hurt them during a commotion.
They were subsequently released several hours later due to lack of evidence.
In a press conference last Monday, Moreno cried political harassment and suspected Manila Mayor Alfredo Lim was behind the incident. Moreno, a vice-mayoral reelectionist, has joined the team of former president Joseph Estrada who will challenge Lim in the mayoral race in Manila.
Lim denied he had anything to do with the incident in a separate press conference.
The vice mayor has filed complaints of grave misconduct and grave abuse of authority against Blumentritt police precinct commander Chief Inspector Ed Morata and the 30 apprehending policemen before the National Police Commission (Napolcom).
When asked by reporters if the Comelec is considering declaring Manila as an election hotspot because of the tense political situation caused by the incident, he said that rival parties should not “increase the drama” because it was just a small incident.
“Wag naman nila palakihin, maliit lang na bagay yung nangyari ditong bingo eh, wag na nila i-drama (They should not exaggerate this, the commotion at the bingo game was just a small matter, they should not make a big deal out of this),” Brillantes said.
“Kung part of their campaign strategy yan, OK lang sa atin, kanya-kanyang style ’yan, kami na magde-determine kung hotspot ito (If this is part of their campaign strategy, that’s OK, it’s their style, but we will determine if place should be declared election hotspot),” he said.
Brillantes further said that there has never been a hotspot in a metro area.