Comelec control eyed in Maguindanao, 6 other areas
By Sheila Crisostomo
The Philippine Star
MANILA, Philippines – Commission on Elections (Comelec) Chairman Jose Melo said yesterday that seven areas across the country will be placed under the agency’s control due to escalating violence in these places.
In an interview, Melo identified these places as Abra, Nueva Ecija and Bacoor and some towns in Masbate, Davao, Maguindanao and Zamboanga.
The Comelec has already drafted a resolution effecting the placing of these areas under its control but it has not yet been promulgated.
“We will put these areas under Comelec control due to election-related violence there,” Melo said.
Melo revealed that election officers in Abra have refused to receive the precinct count optical scan (PCOS) machines way ahead of the May 10 polls, fearing that the machines would be stolen.
The machines will instead be placed in the Archbishop’s residence for safekeeping.
Melo added that Nueva Ecija has the same situation.
Yesterday, Comelec officials met with regional directors and officials of the Philippine National Police and the Armed Forces for a joint command conference to discuss the peace and order situation this coming elections.
The Comelec can place under its control areas where there is intense political rivalry among candidates, political parties or factions and if paramilitary forces, private armies or armed bands threaten to disrupt the polls.
Once an area is under Comelec control, the agency decides on matters concerning the elections.