AFTER a string of gun violence directed at politicians in Pasay and Quezon City, the National Capital Region Police Office (NCRPO) marked them as “areas of concern” ahead of the May elections.
While he saw no reason to declare “hotspots” in the metropolis, NCRPO Chief Director Guillermo Eleazar said on Tuesday that the death of Barangay Chairman Crisell “Beng” Beltran prompted him to declare Quezon City an area of concern.
Eleazar said the recurring gun violence and politically-motivated attacks against barangay officials in Pasay for the past months also convinced him to keep an eye on the city.
“Five cities were [originally] declared areas of concern, but eventually they were reduced to two: Pasay and Quezon City, because of the recent violence, the death of [a] barangay chairwoman running for congressman and then in Pasay,” he said.
Eleazar said that the Philippine National Police (PNP) found no probable cause to mark Pasay and Quezon City “hotspots,” which would prompt the Commission on Elections (Comelec) to take them under its jurisdiction.
The PNP said an area may be considered “election hotspot” if there was history of intense partisan political rivalry and the presence of politically motivated and election-related violence.
Politically motivated incidents are those that happened before the campaign period while election-related crimes took place during the election period.
An area is also considered election hotspot if there is the presence of threats from communist groups and private armies from influential politicians; and the proliferation of firearms.
“Unlike any other region, the presence of local communist and terrorist groups and intense political rivalry are not endemic here in Metro Manila. That’s why we don’t have those kinds of problems,” Eleazar said.
The NCRPO will deploy 15,000 police personnel in the different polling precincts in the metropolis during the midterm polls.
The PNP and Armed Forces of the Philippines met with the Comelec on Tuesday to set stringent security measures in Metro Manila. (N. J. N. SERVALLOS, TMT)