By Aaron Recuenco
Police forces in Western Visayas have intensified the intelligence monitoring and implementation of other security measures after receiving reports that some local officials in the region have tapped the services of gun-for-hire syndicates and the communist rebels to ensure victory in the May 13 midterm elections.
Chief Supt. John Bulalacao, director of the Western Visayas regional police, said that the arrangements with private goons by erring local officials range from intimidation of voters to assassination of opponents.
“These are forms of cheating. We are warning these candidates to stop their nefarious activities and play fairly,” Bulalacao warned local candidates in Western Visayas.
“If they don’t, we will use the full force of the law against them,” he stressed.
Security measures have been tightened in Western Visayas in compliance with the guidance from the Philippine National leadership last year to prepare early amid the series of killings on mayors and vice mayors in some parts of the country.
In Western Visayas, police forces are focused on communist rebels and private armed groups which start to make their presence felt in time for the election.
Aside from police measures, Bulalacao said they also strengthened their dialogue and coordination with various groups in the region to solicit their cooperation for the election.
“We encourage the general public to expose these candidates in their locality because they don’t deserve a sea in our government,” said Bulalacao.
The official said public cooperation play a key role in ensuring peaceful and credible elections since it is the people who are aware who among the candidates have a history of wrongdoings, including poll cheating.
“So we appeal for their support and let us work together in what w all stand for: peace and order,” said Bulalacao.