The United Nationalist Alliance (UNA) on Saturday expressed fear that perceived election-related killings may be used to push for the suspension of elections in places where the opposition is strong.
UNA raised its concern after former Banisilan (North Cotobato) Mayor Floro Allado, who was running as an independent candidate for the mayoral seat, was shot dead on February 18.
Its spokesman Mon Ilagan said the party condemns the Allado killing and that “[we]e are deeply concerned over the increasing scale of uncontrolled violence in areas that are already identified as ‘hot spots’ by the police and military. It is a cause of concern why these bloody incidents have to happen during the election period.”
According to Ilagan, the increase in the perceived political violence was “highly likely” to be used as a reason for the Commission on Elections (Comelec) to invoke its powers to suspend under Section 5 of the Omnibus Election Code.
This law states that the poll body can suspend the elections in case of violence, terrorism, force majeure and other analogous causes that might cause failure to elect.
“Within a week, there have already been a few incidents of killing that were reported to be politically-moti vated. Others may say that these are isolated cases, but it is also clear that there is a big possibility that the intensified killings and violence may be used to stop the elections in places where the opposition is strong,” Ilagan said.
He added that there was likely a pattern of violence in areas where supporters of UNA in the provinces were either being allegedly threatened or harassed.
The party recalled that former Santo Tomas (Batangas) Councilor Damasino “Caloy” Mabilangan Jr., who was running for councilor, was killed in an ambush last week by still unidentified armed men.
It noted that Mabilangan was a member of UNA and an APO fraternity brother of Vice President Jejomar Binay.
“We reiterate our call for the Comelec [Commision on Elections] to beef up the issue of security in order to avoid a bloody election. We at UNA are for a clean and peaceful election and we condemn any form of violence that can destroy the democratic process,” Ilagan said.