PNP: 4 out of 27 violent incidents are ‘election-related’
The Philippine National Police has so far validated four cases of election-related violence ahead of the Barangay and Sangguniang Kabataan elections (BSKE) on Oct. 30.
In a press conference in Camp Crame on Friday, Gen. Benjamin Acorda Jr., chief of the PNP, said that of the 27 violent incidents reported as of Monday, only four have been verified to be election-related incidents (ERIs).
One of the two confirmed ERIs happened in Libon, Albay. Alex Repato, a reelectionist village chief of Barangay San Jose, was shot dead by still unidentified assailants in his house on Aug. 28, the first day of filing of certificates of candidacy (COCs).
On Aug. 31, two men fired their guns outside the municipal hall of Malabang, Lanao del Sur, forcing the stoppage of the filing of COCs.
On Sept. 5, Erasmo Hernandez, 59, the chief of Barangay Poblacion Zone 10 who was seeking reelection, was shot dead by two motorcycle-riding suspects while he was standing in front of his barangay office in Taal, Batangas.
Another shooting incident was recorded in Barangay Bubong Tawa-an in Piagapo, Lanao Del Sur province.
PNP deputy chief for operations Lt. Gen. Michael John Dubria said out of the 42,027 barangays in the country, 249 villages may be considered as election areas of grave concern under the highest “red category” for this year’s polls.
Areas under the red category are placed under the Commission on Elections’ (Comelec) supervision. During an election period, the Comelec may place areas under its direct control and sideline the authority of local governments to suppress potential election-related violence.
Around 1,344 barangays are placed under the “orange” (areas with serious threats) category, and 1,010 under the “yellow” (with a history of election-related incidents) category, while the rest were under the lowest “green” (areas with no security concerns) category.
The PNP and the Armed Forces of the Philippines shall reconcile their lists of election areas of concern and submit their recommendation to the Comelec for approval.
Meanwhile, the number of candidates in the BSKE deemed “epal,” or those who engage in election activities outside the campaign period, continue to pile up.
Based on the latest figures from Comelec, an additional 111 candidates were issued show-cause orders on Friday after they were found to be in possible violation of the rule against premature campaigning.