Comelec has yet to decide on Moises Padilla case

BACOLOD City – The Commission on Elections  (Comelec) en banc has yet to decide whether or not to place the town of Moises Padilla, Negros Occidental under its control due to recent killings.

Provincial Election Supervisor Salud Milagros Villanueva told the Daily Guardian on May 2, 2019 that they are still waiting for the order from the Comelec central office.

Earlier, the Regional Joint Security Control Center (RJSCC) in Western Visayas (Region 6) recommended that Moises Padilla be placed under Comelec control due to recent incidents of violence.

The latest incident is the deadly ambush on the convoy of Vice Mayor Ella Garcia-Yulo who is running for mayor against incumbent Mayor Magdaleno Peña.

The ambush resulted in the deaths of Yulo’s brother Mark Garcia and their nephew re-electionist councilor Michael Garcia.

The killing of re-electionist councilor Jolomar Hilario that was blamed on the New People’s Army preceded the ambush on Garcia’s convoy.

The resolution recommending to place Moises Padilla under Comelec control was approved during an emergency meeting held at the Police Regional Office (PRO)-6 Satellite Office in Camp Alfredo Montelibano Sr. here Monday afternoon.

Comelec-6 Regional Director Jose Nick Mendros, chairman of RJSCC; Brig. Gen. John Bulalacao, PRO-6 director; and Brig. Gen. Eric Vinoya, assistant commander of the Philippine Army’s 3rd Infantry Division, signed the resolution.

The RJSCC said the presence of the NPA also poses danger in the peaceful conduct of the May 13 national and local elections in the town.

Moises Padilla is under category red, which means there is intense political rivalry and presence of armed groups.

Category Red also means that the locality is an “area of grave concern” with a history of election-related incidents in the past two elections and intense political rivalry, and serious armed threat posed by the NPA and other lawless elements.

“It is the conclusion of the RJSCC that the grounds for the placing of the Municipality of Moises Padilla under Comelec control have been verified and confirmed to be existing,” the resolution reads.

Meanwhile, the Philippine Army, with authority from Comelec-Negros Occidental Provincial Office, deployed 150 soldiers from the 62nd Infantry Battalion to Moises Padilla.

On the part of EB Magalona, Villanueva said she has submitted to the Provincial JPSCC the letter request of Provincial Board Member David Lacson, who is running for mayor  against incumbent Marvin Malacon, to place the town under Comelec control.