DAGUPAN CITY—Police have identified 12 towns and cities in Pangasinan as potential hot spots in connection with the May 13 elections.
Senior Superintendent Marlou Chan, provincial police director, identified the areas of concern as the towns of Bolinao, Infanta, Agno, Urbiztondo, Bugallon, Malasiqui, Rosales, Balungao and San Manuel; and the cities of Alaminos, Dagupan and San Carlos.
“These are the specific [towns] and cities where political developments are being watched day to day,” Chan told reporters here on Thursday.
He said these areas were identified not only because of intense political rivalries but because of violent incidents related to the 2007 and 2010 elections.
In Balungao, for instance, three supposed supporters of politicians have been killed, he said.
In December, Infanta Mayor Ruperto Martinez, who was running for vice mayor, was shot and killed by two men in front of his house.
Chan said Rosales town and San Carlos City were included on the list because “we also have some concerns there.”
Commission on Elections records showed that in Rosales, Mayor Ricardo Revita, a former police superintendent, is running for vice mayor with his wife, Patricia, as mayoral candidate. Patricia is running against Vice Mayor Dominador Pajela Jr., a cousin of former Pangasinan Rep. Conrado Estrella III.
“We all know, of course, what happened in San Carlos in the last two elections,” Chan said.
In 2007, Mayor Julian Resuello, who was then seeking reelection, was murdered in the city’s auditorium. His son, Julier Resuello, took over his candidacy and won. The young Resuello is now seeking reelection.
Chan called the intense political rivalries in other Pangasinan towns and cities as an “open secret,” saying the police should be on alert to prevent the outbreak of violence there.
In Nueva Ecija, the police placed 19 towns and four cities in the province under strict monitoring due to heightening political rivalries in those areas.
“It is still three weeks to go [before the campaign period starts] and yet the political heat is already felt in these towns and cities,” Chief Insp. Arnel Santiago, head of the police community relations bureau in Nueva Ecija, said.
He said Supt. Crizaldo Nieves, provincial police director, met with all police chiefs of Nueva Ecija to discuss ways to prevent the escalation of violence, especially when the campaign period for the local elections starts on March 29.
Only Palayan City and the towns of General Tinio, Peñaranda, Llanera, San Leonardo, Zaragoza, Laur, Rizal and Guimba were excluded from the election watch list in the province, Santiago said.
Nueva Ecija has five cities and 27 towns. In past elections, the province hogged the headlines due to political violence that included the killing of a candidate running for governor. Gabriel Cardinoza, Inquirer Northern Luzon; and Anselmo Roque, Inquirer Central Luzon