BAGUIO CITY – Six day before the May 9 elections, the province of Abra is placed under ‘Commission on Election (Comelec) control’.
This was announced during the Cordillera Regional Joint Security Coordinating Center Final Command Conference on Tuesday, (May 3) here.
Places under COMELEC control fall under “the immediate and direct control and supervision” of the COMELEC because of violence and “serious armed threats,” among other things.
Abra Provincial Election Supervisor Atty. Mae Richelle Belmes said that although the Comelec En Banc ruling was confirmed by Regional Election Director Atty. Ederlino Tabilas, she is yet to receive a copy of the decision.
COMELEC Resolution 10074 states that the COMELEC has the following powers under COMELEC Controlled areas: “Take immediate and direct control and supervision over all national and local officials and employees required by law to perform duties and/or comply with certain prohibitions relative to the conduct of the elections” in the area concerned” and “Exercise full control and supervision over all national and local law enforcement agencies as well as military officers and men assigned or deployed” in the area concerned.”
In 2013, Abra was not placed under COMELEC Control but still was an area of concern along with the province of Kalinga. The PNP attributed the better peace and order situation of Abra to the people’s support and cooperation for various peace initiatives.
In 2007 and 2010, the entire province of Abra was under the COMELEC controlled areas which gave the poll body direct supervision and control over all officials and law enforcement agencies of the province for the purpose of conducting a peaceful and credible election.
Even with this latest development, Belmes said that they are continuing with election preparations in the province including the delivery of the official ballots and the Vote Counting Machines to the 27 municipalities of the province in time for the final testing and sealing of the VCMs until May 6.
Meanwhile, Police Regional Office – Cordillera Regional Director PCSupt. Ulysses Abellera reported that they have deployed their personnel in the different areas in the region. He said they are waiting for the official order from COMELEC with regards to the placement of Abra under COMELEC Control
Aside from the situation in the provincial level of Abra, Abellera said that they are also keeping an eye on several areas including the municipalities of Pidigan, Tineg, Lagayan, Dolores and Bangued.
Abellera said they are also closely monitoring the municipalities of Pinukpuk and Tabuk City in Kalinga which are categorized as areas of concerns due to history of violence and political rivalries.
Paracelis in Mountain Province and Tinoc and Asipulo in Ifugao which have history of violence and presence of communist rebels have not been declared as areas of concern. (JDP/RMC-PIA CAR)