By Leslie Ann Aquino
An official of the Commission on Elections (Comelec) is hoping to also see a decline in violent incidents in the May 2019 midterm polls.
Comelec Spokesman James Jimenez noted the trend of poll exercises being more peaceful since the introduction of the automated election system in 2010.
“Since 2010 we see a steady decline in violent incidents. Even in the last Barangay, Sangguniang Kabataan elections the violent incidents were not that high. In fact, its 50 percent lower than 2013. So, hopefully that trend will continue,” he said during the Tinapayan Forum in Manila, Sunday.
To note, there has been a spate in the killings of local government officials recently.
Asked if he thinks the 2019 polls would be “bloodier” in view of the killings, Jimenez refused to speculate.
“I dont know. I would rather not speculate on how bloody it would be,” he said.
“But you can’t turn a blind eye to what is happening right now,” added Jimenez.
Among the local officials killed recently Tanauan City, Batangas Mayor Antonio Halili; Gen Tinio, Nueva Ecija Mayor Ferdinand Bote, and Trece Martires, Cavite Vice Mayor Alex Lubigan.
Former DILG Secretary Rafael Alunan, who was also in the forum, raised the possibility of the killings of local officials being related to the forthcoming elections.
“Whenever we are near the elections or the campaign season, the environment becomes more intense and some take advantage of their position by eliminating their competition,” he said.
Alunan said the COMELEC and the Philippine National Police (PNP) should get together and identify the hotspots as early as now.
“I believe that the COMELEC and the PNP should get together, identify the hotspots as early as now, and take control of the situation immediately,” he said.