• Comelec asked to place Samar under its control

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    SAMAR Gov. Sharee Ann Torres asked the Commission on Elections (Comelec) to place the entire province under its immediate and direct control following an unprecedented surge in election-related violence (ERVI).

    In a letter to the Comelec En Banc, Tan also asked for a change in the composition of the members of the Philippine National Police (PNP) assigned in the province.

    She said a total of 24 ERVIs, including killings and intimidation, have already been documented by local authorities.

    “Recently, the province of Samar witnessed an unprecedented surge in the number of human rights violations, killings and harassment cases meant to thwart the right of the people of Samar to exercise their rights to openly support the candidates of their choice,” Tan said through her counsel, the Kapunan, Garcia & Castillo law offices.

    The PNP earlier identified Samar as one of the six election hot spots in the country in connection with the May 9 elections.

    Tan claimed that the incidents of violence were directed at members and supporters of the Nacionalista Party Coalition (NPC), which has an intense rivalry with the ruling Liberal Party (LP).

    Tan, a member of the NPC, is running for reelection against LP candidate Emil Soza and four other independent candidates.

    She claimed that in the month of April alone, there were three ERVIs recorded, the latest of which was on April 13, when Nacionalista Party leader Lopez Pedereza of Calbayog City was murdered.

    Tan said the violent incidents were extremely alarming, and may jeopardize the holding of honest, orderly and peaceful elections.

    It added that the PNP Regional Office 8 were unable to prevent the ERVIs, while some policemen were themselves being implicated as perpetrators.

    The Comelec earlier placed the town of Pantar in Lanao del Norte under its direct control. The other areas being considered to be placed under Comelec control are Marawi City and Northern Samar, among others.

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