Eastern Samar Elections

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PNP, COMELEC ensure peaceful May election

By ALICE NICART (PIA Eastern Samar)
March 11, 2007

BORONGAN, Eastern Samar    Eastern Samar Provincial Election Supervisor, Attorney Butch Beato foresees a peaceful conduct of election on May 14 at least in his area of responsibility (AOR).

This, he begun by holding a conference with all the 23 Chiefs of Police of the province.  Together with Police Chief Superintendent and PNP Provincial Director Efren Lagmay and Colonel Wilson Leyva, Commanding Officer of the 14th Infantry Battalion, some guidelines were imparted to the police officers.  It was however the first yet of a series of conferences that the Election Supervisor have in line in preparation for the forthcoming election.  The report said that the military personnel on the other hand will be in charge of the so-called "areas of immediate concern" previously referred to as election hotspots.

Most importantly, each Municipal Chief of Police (COP) was instructed to put up at least one Check Point in the most strategic area of the town with a sign board bearing the names of PNP and COMELEC to somehow prevent any form of lawlessness during the election period.  However, the COMELEC officer advised that if they are in close or tight condition, i.e. outnumbered by suspicious elements they may not run after them and instead alert the next Check Point who may be given more time to prepare; besides some legal problems may crop up later relative to the uncertainty of the situations.

The police officers were likewise reminded to tell their members about proper handling and courtesy practices in the inspection of things and baggages of travelers.  For his part, Pol/Chief Supt. Lagmay reminded his men likewise, to watch and secure the province's vital installations, as in power, communication facilities and main routes and bridges.

The military on the other hand mentioned of their directive not to handle anymore election paraphernalia as they did it in the past. Colonel Leyva also disclosed that reports have it that 95% of the barangays are NPA-infiltrated, that each municipality have at least 10 barangays with problem on NPA infiltration.  He said that demand letters from the rebels have been fielded which exact exorbitant fees from would-be candidates as follows: P500T to P1M for congressmen and gubernatorial candidates; P200T for mayoralty and P50T to P100T for provincial Board Members.

The conference ended with the PNP, COMELEC and AFP's appeal for cooperation between and among the candidates even with those planning to sow trouble in the province, to think and consider peace and development for the nation.  As said by President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo, the coming election is about the economy and that there is no turning point.