The Negros Oriental Provincial Police Office (NOPPO) has convened its Election-Related Incident (ERI) Validation Committee to investigate two incidents involving politicians, the cases of which are now tagged as “suspected” election-related violence.
Provincial police director, Col. Germano Mallari, told the Philippine News Agency on Friday that the two incidents are the robbery at the house of incumbent Sibulan Vice Mayor Marcela Grampon Bartoces, a mayoralty candidate, and the shooting incident in the municipality of Basay which identified incumbent Mayor Beda Cañamaque as the target.
“The Police Regional Office 7 directed us to convene immediately after the elections, as it identified both cases as ‘suspected’ to be related to the May 9 elections,” said Mallari, who heads the ERI Validation Team, in mixed English and Cebuano.
At the time of the incidents, the NOPPO did not immediately identify them as election-related pending further investigation and on the basis of the guidelines from the PNP hierarchy.
Mallari said in the Basay shooting incident, two suspects were already identified, and along with four other “John Does” are facing complaints of frustrated murder through a regular filing in court. They all remain at large.
The suspects allegedly opened fire at the Basay mayor, who was sitting outside the house of a supporter in Barangay Cabalayongan, about 10 kilometers away from the highway, around 4:20 p.m. on election day. They fled on board an unidentified vehicle, police investigation showed.
Cañamaque was not hurt but one of his supporters was injured and rushed to the hospital.
Mallari identified the suspects as alleged supporters of an opposition mayoralty candidate in that southernmost town of Negros Oriental.
Meanwhile, in the case of Bartoces, police investigators reported that three unidentified males wearing bonnets and facemasks barged into her house at Sitio Pancil, Barangay Looc in Sibulan on May 7, declaring a hold-up with the use of firearms, and fled with an undetermined amount of money.
The vice mayor said she opened the door and let the men in after they presented themselves as her supporters asking for monetary assistance. She was uninjured.
The provincial ERI validation committee is composed of Mallari as chairperson, the Criminal Investigation Detection Group (CIDG) as vice-chair, and the NOPPO’s Provincial Intelligence Bureau, Operations, and Investigation sections, and the local police chiefs as members.
They are expected to come up with a resolution in 10 days, Mallari said.
Despite this latest development, the election in Negros Oriental was generally peaceful, he added.
Source: Philippines News Agency