Comelec, cops intensify security in Abra ahead of May 13 polls
BANGUED, Abra — The Philippine National Police (PNP) and the Commission on Elections (Comelec) beefed up the security measures in Abra province a day before the May 13 elections.
However, both agencies maintained that the electoral situation there is “manageable.”
Provincial Election Supervisor Dexter Cawis said there are no plans to put Abra under Comelec control in the last minute.
PNP Acting Provincial Director Alfredo Kiwad Dangani said he was confident the PNP deployed enough forces to ensure the safety and security of Monday’s polls.
A total of 1,944 forces from the PNP and the military were deployed to the province with the addition of two tanks situated in Bangued.
Upon entering the capital town, a military tank can be seen at the Sinalang bridge where motorists are being stopped for police inspection
Another military tank is deployed to Calaba village, said Cawis.
Cawis and Dangani also identified Lagayan town as a focus of concern.
The biggest number of troops was deployed there, Dangani said.
“The people feel their security is at risk because of the presence of private armed groups,” he said, adding they received many requests from locals for police supervision.
Dangani also cited the gun violence in the town in 2016 when supporters of rival mayoral candidates shot at each other, leaving one person dead and two others injured.
Lagayan is the only town that assigned police officers as Board of Election Inspectors in all of its barangays except for Barangay Ba-i.
The Comelec had declared Abra as an election hot spot in the May 13 elections. Abra was classified under “category red” along with Mindanao, Jones town in Isabela province, and Lope de Vega town in Northern Samar province.
Acting Provincial Director Alfredo Kiwad Dangani dismissed the rumors that they received a copy of a warrant of arrest for incumbent Bangued Mayor Dominic Valera.
“I actually just heard about it. If there is a [warrant] issued, it should be directed to any law enforcement to implement it. So far we don’t have it,” Dangani said.
An alleged copy of the warrant for murder had circulated on social media. Valera has also denied the allegations. (Editor: Julie Espinosa)