ILOILO CITY – The Police Regional Office (PRO) 6 (Western Visayas) has called for the timely reporting of election violations, particularly on vote buying.
PRO-6 Director, Brig. Gen. Sidney N. Villaflor, said at a press briefing on Saturday that responding to cases of vote buying “boils down to informants” as he assumed all municipalities and barangays have active hotlines to “provide timely reporting.”
The PRO-6 Regional Election Monitoring Center has recorded an alleged vote-buying incident in Banga, Aklan, reported several days after the incident happened.
According to the complainant, an envelope containing PHP500 and a list of candidates was left at their house.
The incident was endorsed to the concerned office of the Comelec and is being validated whether or not it can be considered an election-related incident.
Meanwhile, Villaflor acknowledged that vote buying using a digital platform is a challenge and is considered a birth pain both for law enforcement officers and the Commission on Elections (Comelec).
“This is a new mode of payment so to speak. This will become part of critic after elections on how enforcers can appropriately enforce the law on the online payment of the alleged vote buying,” he said.
Nonetheless, Villaflor said it’s all systems go for Monday, with 11,437 security personnel from the Philippine National Police already on board to ensure the safe and successful conduct of the elections.
The Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) provided 1,874 troops, the Philippine Coast Guard (PCG) has 212 personnel, and there is also augmentation from other security forces.
They also have reactionary forces ready for deployment in case the classification of a certain area is elevated.
About 172 barangays in Western Visayas are classified as election areas of concern – three are in the red category, all based in Negros Occidental; 163 in orange; and six in yellow.
“We based our deployment on the comprehensive study, analysis, and planning. Even though our forces are somehow stretched to the fullest, we still have to give attention to our normal police function and deployment,” Villaflor said.
Deputy Regional Director for Operations Col. Joriz A. Cantoria, Regional Operation Division Chief Col. Gilbert Gorero, and Regional Public Information Office head Maj. Mary Grace Borio joined Villaflor in the early morning briefing.
Meanwhile, in an interview on Thursday, Iloilo Provincial Election Supervisor Reiner Layson said there would be an early delivery of election forms, supplies, and paraphernalia to island and remote barangays upon the request of election officers to ensure that they would be ready to start the elections at 7 a.m.
On Sunday, they will start the deployment of PNP officers, teachers, official ballots, and other accountable forms and supplies.
The island barangays in Iloilo are in the towns of Carles, Concepcion, Estancia, San Dionisio, and Ajuy, while the mountainous barangays are in Alimodian, Leon, Igbaras, Tubungan, San Joaquin, Maasin, and Janiuay, among others. (PNA)