NEARLY 1,000 police and military troops will secure the special elections to be held in 12 barangays in Tubaran, Lanao del Sur, on May 24, Philippine National Police Officer-in-Charge (PNP-OIC) Lieutenant General Vicente D. Danao Jr. said on Monday.
The Commission on Elections (Comelec) declared a “failure of elections” in Tubaran municipality due to violence, threats, and intimidation last May 9.
The decision affected voters in more than 40 clustered precincts in the municipality.
Lt. Gen. Danao said about 600 policemen coming from two PNP Special Action Force (SAF) companies, a company from the Regional Mobile Force Battalion of the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao-Police Regional Office and the local police have been stationed in Tubaran to secure the special polls.
He added that the PNP personnel will be beefed-up by around 400 Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) members.
“There threat is always there kaya nga tayo naglagay ng napakalaking puwersa plus around 400 from the AFP just to secure Tubaran,” the PNP-OIC said.
Lt. Gen. Danao also said that the policemen-turned Board of Election Inspectors (BEIs) in the area are not residents of Tubaran but new police graduates.
“Hindi sila taga-dun, there are 51 of them who are new graduates from the PRO-BARMM trained by the Comelec to serve as BEIs. They will assist the voters to have a secure, fair, and accurate election in Tubaran,” he said.
Comelec acting spokesperson John Rex Laudiangco said all election materials, including ballots and the VCMs (vote-counting machines), remained intact and under the custody of local poll officials. By Alfred Dalizon