MANILA, Philippines – The Commission on Elections (Comelec) said Monday that it is looking at the possibility of placing Gingoog City, Misamis Oriental in its list of areas of concern following the attack of suspected New People’s Army rebels on Mayor Ruth de Lara Guingona.
Comelec chief Sixto Brillantes said the attack on Ruth, wife of former Vice President Teofisto Guingona Jr., is “not an ordinary election violence” considering that the attack was carried out by NPA guerrillas, as claimed by the group.
“So I think we will consider it very seriously and maybe we need to put the area under immediate concern, or even grave concern if it’s warranted,” Brillantes said.
Ruth, also the mother of Senator Teofisto “TG” Guingona III, was wounded when her convoy was “ambushed” in Sitio (sub-village) Dumayokod in Barangay (village) Binakakalan in Gingoog City in Misamis Oriental.
Ruth was wounded by shrapnel from a grenade blast during the attack, while his two bodyguards were killed.
Brillantes said that it was also discussed that additional troops will be sent to Gingoog.
Without going into specifics, Brillantes also said that concerned authorities are monitoring the law and order situation in seven to eight more provinces in the Philippine National Police’s list of areas of concern in reference to the upcoming midterm elections.
Meanwhile, the Comelec chief said his office is already “very ready” for the elections on May 13.
“It is just a matter of implementation. . . tapos na lahat ng preparations. It’s [just] a matter of ensuring na lahat n aming preparations ay ma-implement by bringing to the precinct level all the necessary equipment, paraphernalia, and all the documents necessary to conduct actual secured elections.