BACOLOD City The chief of police of Moises Padilla, Negros Occidental said on April 3, 2019 that the town is now categorized as “red area” relative to the May 13 2019 elections.
Police Captain Junjie Liba said the classification is a result of the murder of town council member Jolomar Hilario by suspected New People’s Army (NPA) members inside his house at Inolingan village on Sunday.
“It is the highest category for areas of concern in connection with the May 13, 2019 election,” Liba said.
Hilarios death led to an encounter on April 1 between Army forces and the NPA at Brgy.Quintin Remo, another upland barangay in the town as government troops pursued the suspects behind the grisly murder.
Liba added that perceived intense political rivalry between candidates also led to the red classification.
Incumbent mayor Magdaleno Peña and his niece Vice Mayor Ella Garcia are both running for mayor.
Garcia was the running mate of Peña during the 2016 elections.
The relationship however between uncle and niece turned sour after the later accused the former of having a hand in a police checkpoint in 2017 that resulted in her arrest on charges of illegal possession of firearms and explosives.
Garcia, who is now detained, attended the covenant signing for peaceful elections on Tuesday and was wearing handcuffs while signing the pact.
Pena did not show up due to previous commitments, Liba said.
He added that with Moises Padilla categorized as a red area, additional Army and police forces will be deployed to ensure peace and order in the town.