DAGUPAN CITY — The number of towns in Pangasinan placed under the election watch list has now been reduced to 16 from 20 last month, the Provincial Elections Office (PEO) reported.
Provincial Elections Supervisor Joel Gines said these towns were put on the list because of intense political rivalries among the candidates as well as their history of political violence that happened in past elections.
Removed from the list among others were Dagupan City, Sual and Urdaneta City where the incumbent mayors have no opponents.
Those in the list were Bayambang, San Carlos City, Urbiztondo, Malasiqui, Bugallon, Infanta, Manaoag, Rosales, Basista, Agno, Calasiao, Lingayen, Binmaley, Sison, Alaminos City and Mangatarem, which was the latest town to be included.
He said the list might yet be trimmed down as the province listed practically no election-related incidents except cases of mauling on April 2 in Sison involving a follower of Fifth District Rep. Kimi Cojuangco by a town councilor supporting her opponent, and the mauling of a municipal employee by Mayor Raul Martin Sison of Urbiztondo allegedly supporting the mayor’s opponent.
Gines confirmed the report of the Police Provincial Office that Pangasinan is generally peaceful and expressed hope that the situation will be maintained.
As to the provincial election that pits the Espino and Cojuangco families, the big consolation said Gines is that no one of the protagonists is resorting to mudslinging.
The only complaints that Gines received are the alleged destruction of each other’s campaign posters and alleged vote-buying by each group which he immediately ordered investigated by his election officers. PNA/northboundasia.com,