MANILA -- Malacañang on Wednesday deplored the ambush of San Fernando, Cebu Mayor Lakambini "Neneth" Reluya.

“We deplore the ambush of San Fernando, Cebu Mayor Lakambini Reluya and pray for her speedy recovery,” Presidential Spokesperson Salvador Panelo said in a statement.

Panelo said the Philippine National Police (PNP) has been directed to monitor areas considered hotspots and to enforce the law strictly regardless of who are involved.

He emphasized that during election period, political rivalry is “fever pitch” which results in the spike of election-related violence.

However, he said that it must be stopped.

“This unfortunate and standard norm cannot continue and the culture of violence that has characterized the electoral process will have to end,” Panelo said.

Panelo urged the public to be watchful of possible dangers and inform law enforcement authorities of expected electoral violence. He also urged candidates to stop acts of violence during elections.

“The citizenry must be vigilant and it must put to notice law enforcement authorities on any brewing electoral violence between and among the candidates and their followers in their respective localities,” Panelo said.

“We urge even as we warn the candidates to cease and desist employment of undemocratic and illegal methods to win for the law on accountability shall be applied to them with full force and effect,” he added.

Panelo, meanwhile, reminded candidates engaged in strife during elections that President Rodrigo R. Duterte will not allow or tolerate violence, especially when it starts to harm civilians.

“Violence is anathema to democracy and this administration will not allow nor tolerate any violence unleashed by any person or group that puts the voters and the general public at risk,” Panelo said.

“The President is committed to shepherd peaceful, honest and orderly elections,” he added.

Reports said Reluya was ambushed while inside her van in Barangay Linao, Talisay City along with her husband Ricardo, two bodyguards, and the driver on Tuesday night.

Reluya's van was peppered with bullets by still unknown perpetrators, according to police.

She survived the ambush and was among those rushed to the hospital.

This is the third ambush involving San Fernando officials in just three weeks -- the other two are San Fernando Councilor Reneboy Dacalos and Barangay Magsico chairman Johnny Arriesgado. (PNA)