Lanao del Norte town placed under Comelec control
The Commission on Elections (Comelec) en banc on Tuesday placed Pantar town in Lanao del Norte province under Comelec control.
“The en banc today [declared] that Pantar, Lanao del Norte is placed under Comelec control,” Comelec commissioner Ma. Rowena Amelia Guanzon told reporters early Tuesday night.
Under Comelec Resolution No. 10074 promulgated on March 10, any political division can be placed under Comelec control affected by any or all of the following grounds:
- History of/or current intense rivalry among the contending parties where such rivalries could motivate people to engage in violent acts;
- Violence maybe facilitated by the employment of private armed groups;
- Abetted by loose firearms in the hands of unqualified individuals and;
- Serious armed threats posed by the New People’s Army, Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters, Abu Sayyaf group and rouge elements of the Moro National Liberation Front or other paramilitary forces widely perceived to have committed terrorism, fraud, or other election irregularities.
Guanzon said that the en banc placed Pantar under Comelec control to prevent voter disenfranchisement.
“This is to ensure that the voters will not be discouraged from voting due to [these] armed groups,” she said.
The Comelec commissioner said that when a political division is placed under its control, the poll body will “take immediate and direct control and supervision over all national and local officials and employees required by law to perform duties” relating to the conduct of elections.
The Comelec will also have full control and supervision over all national and local law enforcement agencies in the said town.
The election officers will be assigned to represent the commission in areas under Comelec control, Guanzon said.
Aside from Pantar, the full Comelec commission is mulling to place Marawi City, Lanao del Sur and Northern Samar under its control.
The Philippine National Police (PNP) has earlier identified Pantar as one of the election hotspots in Northern Mindanao.
The duration of the Comelec control will be in effect until the end of election period. RAM
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