In the thick of their respective campaign trails, the camps of presumed leaders in the province’s gubernatorial race, Deputy Speaker Arthur Yap and former Leoncio Evasco, Jr., have expressed concern over their candidates’ safety.
Interestingly, the alleged threats against both men surfaced on the same day, Tuesday, through national media outlets.
Yap, last-term congressman of the third district, said through a statement which was published by the Inquirer and Manila Bulletin that he received a report from the Bohol Provincial Police Office (BPPO) on Dec. 14, 2018 stating that “there is a clear potent threat to [his] life.”
He asked the Philippine National Police (PNP) to conduct a follow up investigation to “ensure that not only he, but all candidates, be secured from any untoward incidents” during the days leading to the May 13 polls.
“Twenty-three (23) municipalities in the province identified as election hotspots due to… intense political feud and rivalry between contending parties… and the reported presence of the Communist Terrorist Group (CTG) in Bohol,” a report from the BPPO said according to Yap.
According to Yap, he has already furnished a copy of the BPPO assessment to PNP chief Director General Oscar Albayalde.
Meanwhile, the family of Evasco sought the assistance of the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) due to an alleged plot to assassinate the former Cabinet secretary.
In a letter dated April 1 to NBI Director Dante Gierran, the Evasco family requested for a team “from the NBI Central Office” to conduct an investigation “to remove all doubts and suspicions.”
“It is our hope that this investigation will result not only in determining whether the said assassination plot is true or not, in the event that the said plot is confirmed, we trust that this investigation will result in the unmasking of the identities of the assassins contracted for the plot but most especially for the people who contracted them,” said the letter which was signed by Evasco’s wife, Florira, and children Mikhael, Fidel and Fanshen.
The Evasco family claimed that the issue became a concern for them after they were “jolted by observations given by visiting friends and supporters from Davao City who noticed unmarked motorcycles occasionally running alongside the service vehicle of the gubernatorial candidate.”
For his part, former BPPO director Senior Supt. Angeles Geñorga said on Wednesday that most high-profile candidates were subjected to threat assessment in October and November last year following the filing of Certificates of Candidacy.
Geñorga who was reassigned to the Police Regional Office 7 in January however said that he could not recall the results on Yap’s assessment.