MAYOR Melecio Yap of Escalante City lamented the listing of his locality under Category 1 of the election watch list of the Commission on Elections (Comelec) in connection with the upcoming 2013 elections.
Sr. Supt. Celestino Guara, caretaker of the Negros Occidental Police Provincial Office (Noppo), said that they are validating reports that there are allegedly two private armed groups existing in the province.
Escalante City is the only locality here that is listed in the Category 1 of the Comelec watch list while ten other areas were listed under Category 2.
Both the alleged existence of PAGs in the province and Comelec watch list were based on the 2010 polls.
Yap decried as unfair the listing of Escalante City under the Category 1 of the Comelec watch list.
Based on Comelec guidelines Category 1 means there is the presence of armed group and, at the same time, there is intense political rivalry.
“Honestly, if you ask me, I do not believe that we should be placed under category one,” he said.
He also challenged whoever is behind the intelligence report of the presence of PAG in Escalante City to identify the leader of the said group.
Category 2 indicates there is the continued presence of armed men like the communist rebels.
He said while it may good that Escalante City was listed under Category 1, as this would mean augmentation of the police force to ensure peaceful elections, “It is still unfair on the part of the people in the city.”
He said the categorization of Escalante City in the Comelec watch list is sending wrong signals.
He refuted reports that Escalante City is a “problematic area” and dared Noppo to name who has a private armed group in his locality.
Yap said that the report that there is an existing armed group in his city is giving the chief of police a problem because he cannot pinpoint anyone in the area.