THE calm before the storm?
The Police Regional Office 6 (PRO-6) said the situation in Moises Padilla town in Negros Occidental is back to normal after the April 25, 2019 ambush that killed former Sangguniang Bayan member Michael Garcia and his nephew and reelectionist SB member Mark Garcia at Brgy. Inolingan.
Police Brigadier General John Bulalacao, Western Visayas police chief, said that after the shooting incident, everything seemed to have calmed down.
He partly attributed that assessment to the presence of the police and military in the area.
Investigation is still going on as to the identification of those involved in the shooting although we have some suspects based on the statements of witnesses and survivors, he said.
The Commission on Elections (Comelec) officially placed Moises Padilla under its control on May 6, 2019.
Last week, all 24 policemen of Moises Padilla were relieved from their post.
Thats part of the requirement in declaring a town under Comelec control, he said, adding they will be temporarily assigned to the Regional Mobile Force Battalion and will undergo a refresher training.
Bulalacao said they would still be deployed for election duties citing lack of personnel.
Replacing the relieved policemen are 76 personnel coming from different police units.
The Philippine Army has already deployed 150 soldiers in the area to augment the current security force.
Lt. Col. Adrian Acollador was designated officer-in-charge of the Moises Padilla police station and will act as Site Task Force commander.
With the town now under Comelec control, Atty. Tomas Valera, Comelec assistant regional director, said the agency will lead in the daily running of the town.
Moises Padilla is one of the four towns in Western Visayas that are placed under Red Category (Grave Concern) under the election watchlist of areas (EWAs).
The other three are Maasin, Calinog, and Lemery, which are all in Iloilo province.
But Bulalacao said he doesnt expect situations in these municipalities to escalate.