31 Calabarzon villages on election watch list

The Philippine National Police (PNP) and the Commission on Elections (Comelec) have placed under close watch 31 villages in Calabarzon ahead of Monday’s elections.

The villages were identified based on history of political bickering, reported threats against the candidates and election-related violence recorded in the 2007 and 2010 national elections.

“These are areas that will be given special attention to (as) there are hotly contested positions in the barangay level,” Chief Superintendent Samuel Pagdilao Jr., police regional director, said by phone Wednesday.

On the list, Batangas has the most number of areas on the watch list in the region, with 14 villages in the towns of Bauan, Taysan, San Pascual and Talisay and Batangas City.

The town of Calaca, on the other hand, was included in category 2, which meant that armed rebels have been monitored.

“The purpose of identifying areas under watch is so we could deploy more personnel to these areas. We have conducted a general peace covenant among all village candidates and started talking to them individually,” said Senior Superintendent Alberto Supapo, Batangas police director.

In 2007, the elections in Batangas were marred by the deaths of two teachers in the burning of an elementary school that was used as a polling center in Taysan. The teachers were serving as election inspectors.

Meanwhile in Laguna, seven villages from the towns of Lumban and Sta. Maria and Bi?City were on the watch list.

In Rizal, the police named the villages of San Juan in Cainta; Mambungan in Antipolo City; and Ampid and Silangan both in San Mateo.

Three villages in Quezon, namely, Lilukin in Buenavista, Malabanan in Candelaria and Gibanga in Sariaya are being watched as potential election hot spots.

Senior Superintendent Erickson Velasquez, Quezon police director, said they were also guarding against the reported activities of communist rebels in 145 villages in the Bondoc Peninsula, Reina (Real-Infanta-General Nakar), Dolores and Tagakawayan in Quezon, which could affect the conduct of Monday’s elections.

The Philippine Army has identified 174 villages where insurgents operate.

In Cavite, the villages of Tejeros in Rosario, Sabang in Dasmari?City and Habay 2 in Bacoor were placed on the list.

In the May 10 elections, two persons, including an aide of former congressman Plaridel Abaya, were killed, while a police officer was wounded in an encounter with the authorities at the Bacoor police station.

Reports said the election clash resulted from the alleged vote-buying by the supporters of the Abayas and another dominant political clan, the Revillas.

“Between now and Monday, there will be more and frequent police operations and checkpoints,” Pagdilao assured.

He said there has not been any election-related incident in the region so far since the start of the election period for the barangay and youth council elections

SOURCE: http://politics.inquirer.net/politics/view/20101020-298814/31-Calabarzon-villages-on-election-watch-list