The presence of more police officers in Bohol towns under the Commission on Election – Election Watchlist Areas (COMELEC-EWA’s) is the top priority of the Bohol Provincial Police Office (BPPO) to ensure a peaceful campaign period leading to the May 9, 2016 national and local elections.
But according to Police Superintendent Lorenzo Batuan, Head of the BPPO Operations Branch, the police presence in the five towns in Bohol under the watch list is hampered by the lack of police personnel to augment existing police officers assigned in the watch list areas.
The COMELEC placed eight Bohol towns under EWA – Antequera and Tubigon of the 1st District, Buenavista, Clarin, Danao, Inabanga, Ubay – all of the 2nd district and Bilar of the 3rd district.
Batuan told DYRD Balita that they are awaiting the arrival of additional police personnel to assist in the monitoring of areas prone to election related crimes.
Meanwhile, BPPO Information Officer Police Superintendent Ricky Deliles, in a interview with DYRD “Inyong Alagad” this morning, Monday, April 18, 2016 bared that another three towns – Panglao, Carmen and Pilar are now under assessment as an election watch list area considering the prevailing “intense political rivalry” in their election campaigns.
“But this is only our recommendation and is still subject to COMELEC confirmation”, said Deliles.
In the case of Panglao, an intense word war between the two mayoral candidates – Liberal Party Leonila Montero and PDP-Laban former Mayor Dr. Doloreich Dumaluan, former close allies now bitter political rivals, prompted the recommendation of the police to the COMELEC to place the town under the watch list, according to Deliles.
According to the Philippine National Police (PNP), the parameters in identifying EWA’s are the history of intense political rivalry and past records of intense politically motivated and election related incidents, presence of private armies of influential politicians and the proliferation of firerams in the towns and cities.
Candidates for mayor in the eight towns under EWA of the COMELEC-PNP are: 1st District: Antequera – LP Incumbent (Inc) Jose Pahang vs. Ind. Samuel Rebosura; Tubigon – UNA Inc.Marlon Amila vs. LP former Mayor William Jao;
2nd District – Buenavista – UNA Inc. Ronald Tirol vs LP Roseller Banez; Clarin – LP Inc. Rey Piezas vs. UNA Eugeniano Ibarra; Danao – UNA Inc.Thomas Gonzaga running unopposed; Inabanga – LP Inc.Josephine Jumamoy vs. UNA Concepcion Muneses; Ubay – LP Inc. Galicano Atup, NPC Constantino Reyes, Ind. Danilo Mendez.
3rd District – Bilar – LP Inc. Norman Palacio vs. UNA Elmer Namocat.
Recommended to be placed under the EWA by the PNP-Bohol aside from Panglao of the 1st district are two towns from the 3rd district – Pilar with PDP-Laban Incumbent Mayor Necitas Cubrado against her Vice Mayor LP Wilson Pajo and Carmen with PDP-Laban Incumbent Mayor Ricardo Toribio against Vice Mayor LP Pedro Budiongan, Jr.
As the 2016 general election draws closer, the PNP and COMELEC are closely monitoring red flags that would lead to the escalation of political violence as shown in the recent killings of political supporters in Tubigon and Danao.Â (Chito M. Visarra)