By Leslie Ann Aquino
An official of the Commission on Elections is concerned that there seems to be more killings taking place as the May 13 midterm polls draws nearer.
Comelec Spokesman James Jimenez cited the recent killing of Ako Bicol partylist Rep. Rodel Batocabe in Albay, among others, as an example.
“If you are going to talk about signs anyway, then perhaps I would invite your attention to the fact there seems to be more killings now than the recent past. Again if it is sign of anything then it is pretty troubling,” he said in a press briefing in Manila, Monday.
“Both in the 2016 and the election that follows there was a very clear downward trend in the number of violent incidents. The barangay elections particularly was marked with very few deaths occasioned during the elections. And in the elections, which are referred as hotspots in the national elections….barangays elections were often referred as more contentious and more violent than the national elections. And yet the barangay elections in 2018 were very peaceful,” added Jimenez.
Unfortunately, he said, since then, there have been many killings of politicians such as in Daraga, Albay.
“It was even reported that the plan to kill him (Batocabe) was hatched when he filed his COCs. You don’t get more election-related than that. Again, this if anything, this is an indication that we have more deaths now,” Jimenez said.
“That is a challenge for the comelec and the PNP to ensure that doesn’t happen,” he added.
Meanwhile, Jimenez disclosed that they were just waiting for the promulgation of the COMELEC en banc’s decision on whether to place Daraga, Albay under its control or not.
This, he said, is in relation to the recommendation of the PNP and local poll officials to place the town under COMELEC Control in the aftermath of Batocabe’s murder.
“The matter was already discussed. The matter has already been decided. However, no decision has been promulgated yet,” said Jimenez.