PNP identifies at least 18 areas as election hotspots

REWARD FOR CIVILIANS ONLY. Philippine National Police (PNP) Director General Oscar Albayalde says only civilian informants, not law enforcement officials, are entitled to the PHP5-million reward announced by President Rodrigo Duterte for the neutralization of the so-called "ninja cops" or rogue police officers engaged in the illegal drugs trade, in a media briefing held at Camp Crame in Quezon City on Monday (Aug. 20, 2018). (PNA photo by Joey O. Razon)

MANILA —The Philippine National Police (PNP) has identified at least 18 areas as election hotspots.

PNP chief, Director General Oscar Albayalde revealed this after signing of a Memorandum of Agreement (MOA) with the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) and the Commission on Elections (Comelec) for the holding of Bangsamoro Organic Law (BOL) Plebiscite in January and February 2019 and the May 13 midterm polls at the Comelec main office in Manila on Friday.

We have one in Region 1. Also, in Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao, Lanao, Basilan, may tatlo dun…” he said.

Albayalde, however, declined to name the identified hotspots.

With this, the PNP head noted that it has yet recommended areas to put under Comelec control.

“As of this time, wala pa kaming other recommendations although on the part of the PNP we have at least 18 that are categorized as hotspots,” Albayalde said.

“We categorized them as hotspots because there were previous incidents of election-related violence and there is a presence of rebel troops in the area and other threat groups,” he added.

But, the PNP chief was quick to say that the 18 areas are not necessarily to be placed under Comelec Control.

“We have 18 cities and municipalities in our list but not necessarily to be under Comelec Control,” he said.

“It will depend on the outcome of the weekly conferences, updates that will be tackled by the technical working group, kung sa tingin naman ng Comelec na of the 18, meron pwedeng ihandle ng Comelec Control, then it’s up to the Comelec to decide,” Albayalde added.

The MOA was signed by Comelec Commissioner Al Parreno, who is the Commissioner in charge of BOL Plebiscite, AFP Chief of Staff Benjamin Madrigal and Albayalde.

Meanwhile, Comelec spokesperson James Jimenez said that the Comelec has not identified yet areas to be placed under its control.

“Wala po. At this point wala pa which doesn’t mean na hindi na magkakaroon. Maaring magkaroon its just wala pa siya ngayon,” he said in an interview on Thursday.

The poll body earlier said that it is considering placing under its control the municipality of Daraga, Albay, following the ambush of Ako Bicol Partylist Representative Rodel Batocabe on Saturday.

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