BACOLOD City Department of Interior and Local Government Secretary Eduardo Año assured residents of Moises Padilla, Negros Occidental of peaceful elections on May 13, 2019.
Año joined President Rodrigo Roa Duterte who visited Moises Padilla evening of May 8.
He said police officers were instructed to implement the guidelines when an area is placed under the control of the Commission on Elections.
Año said strategic checkpoints have been established in certain areas of the town. In addition, all candidates will be subjected to inspection and only two security escorts are allowed for each of them.
In an interview with the Daily Guardian before they left via chopper, the DILG chief also confirmed that President Rodrigo Duterte warned Mayor Magdaleno Peña against allowing violence to happen in the town.
Peña was sternly told by the President that he (Duterte) does not want any killings to happen in the town.
Duterte visited the town of Moises Padilla late Wednesday afternoon, and held a command conference with officials of the Commission on Elections (Comelec), Philippine National Police (PNP), and the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP).
The president left the town after almost an hour and proceeded to a campaign rally in Bohol where he again made potshots at Peña.
While he did not name Peña, Duterte said that he spoke to the Negros Occidental mayor and told him to allow everybody to vote freely.
“There is a certain mayor who is the suspect of almost everybody, I frankly told him, if you create so much problem for everybody, you might find yourself the ultimate solution. This is a democracy. This is an exercise of the right of the people to choose their leader, Duterte added
The President also said Its when you start to break rules thats when it starts to magka-leche-leche. Eh, sundin mo lang yung batas at walang problema,
Pres. Duterte added he is currently unsure if the mayor he was referring to is still his friend or not after talking to him on Wednesday.
Peña is accused of masterminding the April 25, 2019 ambush at Inolingan village which resulted in the deaths of two relatives of Vice Mayor Ella Garcia-Yulo who is running against the incumbent mayor.
Yulo said her family is thankful to Pres. Duterte after assuring them of assistance in getting justice for the deaths of her brother and nephew.
“He assured us that justice will be given to us,” Garcia- Yulo said.
Yulo said she had a one-on-one talk with the President who assured her that voters will be allowed to vote freely without threats and intimidation from the alleged armed goons of Pena.
“Gapasalamat gid kmi kay Tatay Digong kay gin tagaan gid hustisya ang kamatayon sang akon manghod kag hinablos,” Yulo said.
Yulo’s brother Mark Garcia, a former Association of Barangay Captains president in the town, and her nephew re-electionist Councilor Michael Garcia were killed in the ambush.
The Garcias pointed to their uncle, re-electionist Mayor Pena as the one behind the ambush.
On the other hand, Mark’s widow Marijo and their 12-year-old daughter also met with the President before he left the town.
Marijo said the President condoled with her and encouraged her daughter to continue schooling amid perceived threats
He assured us of our safety, Marijo said.