Requests for Comelec control swamp poll body

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Comelec Chairman Sixto Brillantes. INQUIRER FILE PHOTO

MANILA, Philippines – The Commission on Elections (Comelec) has received several requests to put some areas under Comelec control, but these will most likely be denied, Chairman Sixto Brillantes said Wednesday.

“All requests were returned to the regional police and military for comment before we declare [an area under] Comelec control or even before we take it up in the en banc,” Brillantes said.

“Because we have no basis for declaring any area under Comelec control unless we get [police and military] reports,” he said.

Among the areas that have sought Comelec control were Tagbilaran, Bohol, Lanao del Norte, La Union, among others.

“We made one general resolution that all those [areas] requesting [to be placed under] Comelec control should refer first to the police and the military in the area before it is brought up to the en banc,” Brillantes said.

When asked what the reasons being cited were, he said: “many reasons, peace and order, political upheaval, which usually we cannot know for sure.”

“Most of these [requests] I think will be denied anyway, these are not basis for Comelec control,” he said.

During one of the police and military coordination meetings with the Comelec, Brillantes said that they have come up with a classification scheme to determine the degree of security priority of a certain area.

The lowest classification, area of concern, can be automatically declared by the local authorities. It will however require further coordination with Comelec to change the classification to the next levels, namely area of immediate concern, area of grave concern, and Comelec-control.

Brillantes said in previous interviews that Comelec control is imposed only during extreme situations in an area where there is “complete breakdown of law and order” such as widespread violence resulting in heavy casualties.

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