Comelec classifies Pilar town in Abra as ‘red’ area after standoff
MANILA, Philippines — The Commission on Elections (Comelec) on Friday raised the classification of the town of Pilar in Abra to “red category” following the shootout between the town’s vice mayor Jaja Josefina Disono’s security team and local officers, which led to the death of the local politician’s security aide.
Pilar was previously classified as “orange,” but with the recent development, the Comelec’s Committee on the Ban on Firearms and Security Concerns (CBFSC) classified the municipality to “red” category, according to Commissioner Aimee Ferolino, the acting chair of the committee.
“Pending verification of the reports received, the CBFSC has upgraded the categorization of Pilar from Orange to Red. We will decide the issue on Comelec control next CBFSC meeting upon receipt of validation reports,” Ferolino said.
“Putting a certain area under Comelec control is a sensitive issue. Decisions must be made based on formal reports from our deputies in charge of the security, peace and order,” Ferolino added.
The poll body formulated four classifications in areas of election concern: green, yellow, orange, and red.
Comelec said green category refers to areas with no security concern; yellow category for areas with a record of election-related violence or existence of political rivalry; orange category for areas with serious threats by terrorists and other armed groups, and red category for areas with political climate that would call for the declaration of Comelec control.
The National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) recommended the filing of murder charges against several officers of the Philippine National Police involved in the shootout.
The NBI explained that police initially claimed they were conducting a Comelec checkpoint along Berona Street, Pilar, Abra, when the shootout occured, however, CCTV footage gathered by the NBI showed that there was no visible checkpoint along the said area at the time.
More than 100 areas in the country are under the election area of concern, according to Comelec.