Duterte: Comelec mulls placing Daraga under control after Batocabe slay

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The Commission on Elections (Comelec) is considering placing the municipality of Daraga, Albay under its control following the latest incidence of violence– the assassination of Ako Bicol Representative Rodel Batocabe.

Comelec spokesperson James Jimenez noted that the Commission en banc is set to come up with its decision on or before January 13, which is also the start of the election period for the May 13, 2019 national and local elections (NLE).

The local Comelec officials have recommended to the poll body to place the municipality under Comelec control effective January 13.

“If the move is approved by the Commission en banc, Comelec control has been requested to take effect on the 13th of January 2019, or the start of the election period,” he said in a press briefing on Thursday.

“The Commission en banc may, however, set the effectivity to any date which it deems appropriate,” the Comelec official added.

Jimenez said local Comelec officials have expressed the concern that this might exacerbate currents intense political rivalries in the area leading to further violent incidents.

“Such a situation could conceivably undermine the conduct of peaceful and credible elections in 2019,” he added.

Under the law, the Comelec may place any political subdivision under its immediate and direct control and supervision if, among other things, there is a history of, or current, intense political rivalry among contending parties, as such rivalries could motivate people to engage in violent acts.

Once an area or areas placed under Comelec control, the poll body will immediately take control over all national and local officials in the affected place.

The Comelec also exercises full control and supervision over all national and local law enforcement agencies, as well as military officers and men, assigned or deployed in that area. (PNA)