THE Commission on Elections (Comelec) Task Force is now overseeing Moises Padilla after the town was officially placed under the poll body's control effective Monday, May 6.
The Comelec Task Force is composed of Provincial Comelec supervisor lawyer Jessie Suarez, Department of the Interior and Local Government provincial officer Carmelo Orbista, Negros Occidental Police Provincial Director Colonel Romero Baleros, and Brigadier General Nenedict Arevalo, commander of the 303rd Brigade.
A turnover of command was also held Monday at the Municipal Police Station as the whole team of the Philippine National Police (PNP) previously assigned in the area were relieved and replaced by a new set of team led by Lieutenant Colonel Adrian Acollador.
Sendoff ceremonies were also held at the municipality for the new set of PNP personnel and the Armed Forces of the Philippines.
The Comelec control was enforced by Comelec Commissioners Rowena Gaunzon and Antonio Kho who is in-charge of the Comelec control.
Kho said the recent ambush that claimed the lives of Councilor Jose Antonio Garcia and his uncle Mark Garcia and the category of Moises Padilla on red status are the basis of Comelec's approval of Resolution 10501, which placed the area under Comelec control.
Kho said the local officials led by the mayor and the vice mayor would still perform of their respective functions.
“We are not ousting any official in this municipality. They continue to be officers unless in some other cause,” Kho said.
“One of the powers given to Comelec is to reassign or reshuffle the movement of police officers,” Kho added.
“The Comelec Task Force will guard the locality for the time being. Local officials will report on what's happening in the here. Although we have created a special task force who will be here to monitor what's happening and they will submit a report to update us what's happening,” he said.
The task force will act as the listening posts relative to the declaration of Comelec control.
The Comelec officer in Moises Padilla will also conduct his regular function.
Moises Padilla Mayor Magdaleno Pena, who arrived at the Moises Padilla Police Station and met with Kho, said he is thankful for placing the town under Comelec control because the presence of the army and the police especially in the hinterland barangays would drive away the rebels.
Guanzon ordered that the memorandum receipt of all firearms of the Municipal Government be turned over to the task force.
Kho also confirmed that Moises Padilla is the first locality placed under Comelec control in Western Visayas. (TDE)