Seven areas placed under Comelec control

May 3, 2010 7:17 pm 

MANILA, May 3 — Seven areas in the country were placed under the control of the Commission on Elections (Comelec) due to escalating violence there.

Comelec chairman Jose Melo revealed that the province of Abra , Nueva Ecija, some towns in Masbate, Davao , Maguindanao, Zamboanga and Bacoor were placed under the control and supervision of the poll body.

“We will put those areas under Comelec control,” the Comelec chief said, adding that there is already a resolution on the issue but has not been promulgated.

Melo said the primary reason why the areas have been placed under their control is because of the presence of election related violence there.

In Abra province, he said election officers don’t want to accept the precinct count optical scan (PCOS) machines ahead of the May 10 polls for fear that the machines would be stolen so they have to store it to the Archbishop residence for safekeeping.

He added that the same scenario is similarly being experience in the other areas like Nueva Ecija.

As election gets nearer, the Comelec is expecting election activities to escalate.

On Monday, poll body officials together with its regional directors, the Philippine National Police (PNP) and the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) conducted a joint command conference to discuss election scenarios.

Under the law, Comelec can place an area under its control when intense political rivalry between or among candidates, political factions or parties, or the presence of paramilitary forces, private armies or identifiable armed bands threaten to disrupt the holding of free, peaceful, honest, orderly and credible elections.

Once an area is placed under Comelec control, the commission shall take immediate and direct control and supervision over all national and local officials and employees while exercising full control and supervision over all national and local law enforcement agencies as well as military officers and men assigned or deployed there. (PNA) LOR/FGP/utb

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