Gov wants more cops in ‘hot’ Davao del Sur
DAVAO CITY—The “presence” of private armed groups operated by politicians did not only make Davao del Sur a hot spot but a “boiling area” in relation to the 2013 midterm polls, Gov. Douglas Cagas said.
“It is, in fact, a boiling spot because of the presence of these politically backed private armies,” Cagas told reporters at the sidelines of the Regional Peace and Order Council (RPOC) meeting here on Thursday.
Cagas, seeking election as Digos City mayor, this time said the Commission on Elections (Comelec) could declare Davao del Sur under its control but that would be useless unless the military and the police would take the armed groups seriously.
Cagas would not name any politician, who maintains private armies in the province, adding that it was up to the police to do so.
The Cagas clan is locked in a bitter political rivalry with the Bautista clan.
Cagas’ son, first district Rep. Marc Douglas IV is pitted against former Davao del Sur second district Rep. Claude Bautista in the gubernatorial race.
Cagas himself is also facing a Bautista supporter, reelectionist Digos City Mayor Joseph Peñas while his wife, Mercedes, faces another Bautista ally, Vice Gov. Arsenio Latasa in the congressional race for the first district.
To prevent election-related violence from erupting, Cagas said the police should concentrate its force in the province.
“I asked the PNP regional director to focus forces in Davao del Sur, not tomorrow, not in the next few months but today and until the elections are over,” Cagas said.
“If you can bring in 75 percent of the whole police force in the region, the better, because the critical area is Davao del Sur, not anywhere else in the region,” he added.
The Comelec regional office has earlier said that of the four southern Mindanao provinces, Davao del Sur was the lone potential hot spot because of intense rivalry between politicians.
Comelec assistant regional director Marlon Casquejo said they were gathering data to support the recommendation to place the entire province under Comelec control.
In Maguindanao, a partymate of President Aquino, who is running for mayor of Datu Hoffer town, survived an ambush on Wednesday. Senior Supt. Jaime Pido, Maguindanao police chief, said an investigation on the attempt to kill Yamashita Mangacop had been launched.
Mangacop, 49, suffered two bullet injuries in the arm when the multicab he was driving was fired upon as he was passing by Barangay Salimbao in Sultan Kudarat town. Germelina Lacorte and Edwin Fernandez, Inquirer Mindanao