MANILA—Two more areas are likely to be placed under the control of the Commission on Elections (Comelec) for the May 9 polls.
According to Commissioner Sheriff Abas the commission en banc has approved “in principle” to put the Province of Abra and the City of Marawi in Lanao del Sur under their control.
“It was approved in principle by the en banc although there is no resolution yet,” he said.
The poll body official added that among the reasons why these areas had been put under their control were due to the presence of armed groups as well as the having intense political rivalries.
“The beauty of putting them under Comelec control is we can saturate them with security forces while also suspending the permits to carry firearms issued to them. Basically, no one is exempted from the gun ban. That is the benefit of Comelec Control,” Abas explained.
Earlier, the poll body has also placed Pantar, Lanao del Norte under its direct control of the elections.
Aside from the three areas, the Comelec is also considering Northern Samar to be included in the list of areas under Comelec control.
Based on Comelec Resolution No. 10074, grounds for placing an area under Comelec control include having history of intense political rivalry; presence of violence facilitated by private armed groups; presence of loose firearms; and presence of serious armed threats posed by the New People’s Army, Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters, Abu Sayyaf, or other paramilitary forces.
Once under Comelec control, the concerned political unit is placed under the poll body’s immediate and direct control and supervision.
Likewise, the commission shall have the power to control and supervise all local officials and employees as well as local law enforcement agencies and military forces assigned in the area.
The poll body’s control of the area/areas will be in effect until the end of the Election Period on June 8, unless lifted by the commission en banc.