MANILA, Philippines - The Commission on Elections has been asked to place under its control six provinces due to escalating incidents of election-related violence.
Petitions to place the provinces of Abra, Nueva Ecija, Zamboanga del Sur, Cotabato, Maguindanao and Sultan Kudarat under Comelec control were jointly heard during Friday's en banc session.
The petitioners said they see an increasing trend in the incidents of election-related violence in the province. They believe that putting the areas under Comelec control would limit the incidents on May 10.
The Comelec, meanwhile, asked the petitioners to show proof of election violence in the 6 areas.
The poll body was expected to issue a ruling on the petition a week before the automated elections.
Of the 6 provinces, Maguindanao province recently caught the attention of the international community.
A total of 57 people, including women members of a political clan and journalists, were abducted and massacred by a group of militiamen in Ampatuan town last Nov. 23, 2009.
The women were on their way to the provincial capitol to file a certificate of candidate on behalf of a gubernatorial candidate when they were held by the gunmen, allegedly led by Datu Unsay Mayor Andal Ampatuan Jr.
The massacre prompted President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo to place parts of the province under martial law. -- with a report from Ryan Chua, ABS-CBN News