20 areas in Central Visayas placed under poll watchlist

04/29/10 - At least 20 areas in Central Visayas have been placed under the election watchlist due to intense political rivalries and the presence of communist rebels in these areas.

Senior Supt. Melvin Ramon Buenafe, chief of the Regional Intelligence Division (RID), said yesterday the list was submitted to the joint security control center composed of the Commission on Elections, the Armed Forces of the Philippines and the Philippine National Police.

Areas included in the watchlist are classified into category 1 and category 2.

Of the 20 areas, 15 areas are under category 1 which means these areas have intense political rivalries and have election-related violence in the past two elections.

Of the 15 areas, six are in Cebu, two in Bohol and seven in Negros Oriental.

Placed under category 2 are five areas in Negros Oriental, where there is a strong presence of communist rebels.

“In fairness to all, we will not identify these areas because it could be used as issue against the incumbent officials,” Buenafe said.

He said the watchlist would serve as guide on the deployment of troops in the May 10 polls with the purpose of preventing violence.

As this developed, the headquarters of mayoralty candidate, Adoracion Cabrera in barangay Talisay, Sta. Fe town was strafed by unidentified suspects before dawn yesterday.

Ely Senangote, a political consultant of reelectionist Rep. Benhur Salimbangon, of Cebu’s 4th district told policemen he saw unidentified suspects on board on a red motorcycle about 12:40 a.m.

They stopped adjacent to the headquarters and fired several shots which hit the billboard of Gov. Gwendolyn Garcia and Salimbangon. No one was hurt.

The suspects fled after the shooting. Police recovered three empty shells of 9mm pistol and one slug from the scene.

Senior Insp. Leoncio Baliguat, Sta. Fe police chief, said that prior to the incident, Senangote received a death threat through a text message. “Pare paghindi ka umalis dito sa Sta. Fe patay ka, itumba ka namin,” the meesage read.

Baliguat said in their initial investigation, the death threat and the strafing incident might be connected but would further investigate the incident.

Edwin Cadungog, Cebu City South Comelec election officer said 80 percent of PCOS machines or about more than 11,000 units had already arrived.

Cebu City Police Director Patrocinio Comendador Jr. said the 560 clustered precincts and 239 polling centers would be guarded by 239 policemen.

There are 2,120 polling precincts in Cebu province, 1,026 in Lapu-Lapu City and 981 in Mandaue City.

Official ballots to be used in the May 10 elections arrived in Cebu yesterday and were delivered to the Municipal Treasurer's Office. /WITH JUCELL MARIE P. CUYOS, ADOR VINCENT S. MAYOL AND FERDINAND MAƱUS. (CebuDailyNews)

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