CAMP SIMEON OLA, LEGAZPI CITY (Mar 4, 2012) – THE Philippine National Police (PNP) Regional office has ordered the deployment of an estimated 100 police personnel in the coastal town of Siruma, Camarines Sur to secure the special election for the town's mayoralty post.
Earlier last month in a Memorandum Order Number 32 addressed to PNP and the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP), signed by Executive Secretary Paquito N. Ochoa Jr. on February 16, President Aquino directed the law enforcement agencies and instrumentalities of the government to be on watch and perform their duties during the political exercise to elect a new local chief executive for Siruma, Camarines Sur.
The holding of special polls on March 10 in barangay Butawanan of said town was a result of COMELEC embank decision (SPC No. 10-002 dated May 19, 2011) that voided the proclamation of then incumbent Mayor Sandy Ondis and ordered the holding of Special election after a failure of ballot recount last year.
Immediately after the winning mayoral candidate was proclaimed after the May 2010 elections, the camp of the losing candidate, former Siruma mayor Nonito Vier, alleged in an official election protest that 247 ballots in 4 precincts (precincts 11A to 14A) were not counted. During the official COMELEC recount, it was discovered that the said ballots, deemed crucial in determining the final outcome of a mayoral election that was decided by less than 100 votes, had disappeared.
According to Regional police office spokesman, Police Supt. Renato Bataller, police presence shall be intensified in the perimeter of two polling places in the island barangay of Butawanan during the entire election period.
Bataller said that the Commission on Elections (COMELEC) has also ordered the start of implementation of a Gun-ban in the island village.
During a recent security plan conference with Camarines Sur Provincial Police Office presided by Police Senior Supt. Procopio Lipana, it was decided than an advance force of 50 police personnel shall secure the immediate perimeter of the two polling places in Butawanan, one of which is located outside the Barangay center, Bataller said.
Bicol PNP director head, Chief Supt. Arnie de los Santos, has ordered the expansion of the security coverage to the entire island village, including major barangay roads leading to the polling places and a provision of back up personnel.
A special unit of the Camarines Sur PPO – Public Safety Company unit is assigned to secure the COMELEC election officers and the election paraphernalia in their possession.
The police has been alerted about reported sightings of armed men in Butawanan island just a week before the election.
Officer-in-charge of the Siruma local government, Vice-Mayor Karen Polinga, also reports of harassment from various sectors, including threats of suspension by the Provincial Board.