Comelec sees Davao del Sur as "area of concern" for 2013 polls

Subscribe Now October 16, 2012 at 08:45am

The regional Commission on Elections (Comelec-XI) sees Davao del Sur as an “area of concern” amongst provinces and cities in its area of responsibility come 2013 midterm elections. Lawyer Marlon Casquejo, Assistant Regional Director of Comelec-XI, said on Monday’s Kapehan sa SM, that they are going to focus on the said province as the gubernatorial, vice-gubernatorial and mayoralty positions are “hotly contested.” This is in contrast to other cities and provinces in the region where the candidates are mostly running unopposed.

Mark, son of incumbent Davao del Sur Governor Douglas Cagas, seeks the gubernatorial position against the latter’s long-time political rival Claude Bautista. The incumbent governor is now seeking the mayoralty post in Digos City against incumbent Mayor Joseph Peñas.

But for Bernard Viñan, secretary general of the Citizens Alliance Unified for Sectoral Empowerment in Davao del Sur (Cause-DS), the province need not be put under “Comelec control” if only authorities are keen in dismantling private armies of known political families.

“Violence would be prevented if they will disarm these private armies and those who are carrying unlicensed firearms,” Viñan told in a phone interview.

The Cause-DS leader said that some politicians are maintaining their private armed groups with police officials doing nothing.

“We already have laws against this, but why can’t they implement them?” he said, adding that, “If our government is sincere, it must not favor anybody. This must be resolved to ensure a peaceful election next year.”

Meanwhile, in Compostela Valley, Casquejo said, some candidates are unopposed while others expect a “no contest” with respect to their opponents.

Here in Davao City, current ABC (Association of Barangay Captains) President Paolo Duterte runs unopposed for the vice mayoralty position, as well as reelectionist Isidro Ungab for the third district congressional post. Incumbent vice mayor Rodrigo Duterte will run against five other political unknowns.

Last elections, Casquejo said, only Davao del Sur and Davao City were put under their control.

Casquejo said, the Comelec based its declaration of controlled areas on the latter’s history. They also based it on the recommendations of the military and police regarding the peace and order situation.

As of now, Comelec-XI is still in the process of verification if Davao del Sur will be declared a controlled area. They made no recommendations yet to the Comelec en banc who will have the final say.

Once a place is declared under Comelec control, the latter controls all government offices. It also controls the provincial government with the disbursement of funds, among other things. It can also control curfew hours, as well as the conduct of campaign.

Davao del Sur comprises two congressional districts spanning 14 municipalities and one city. Comelec estimates about 400 thousand voters in the province and a total of about two million in the region next year. On March 29 next year, the campaign period starts.


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