MANILA - The Commission on Elections (Comelec) on Thursday expressed alarm over a spate of fatal attacks against candidates in May's midterm elections.
Comelec spokesperson James Jimenez said some 10 candidates have fallen prey to such attacks over the past 5 months.
These include AKO Bicol Party-list Rep. Rodel Batocabe, who was shot dead at a gift distribution event before Christmas in his hometown Albay, and Quezon City village chief Criselle Beltran, a candidate for a seat in the House of Representatives who was gunned down Wednesday.
The mayor of Daraga, Albay, who Batocabe was supposed to challenge for the mayoralty in May, was tagged as the mastermind behind his killing. Police have, meanwhile, classified Beltran's slay as the first election-related incident in Metro Manila.
"Dito sa amin sa Comelec, medyo nababahala kami sa trend na ito," he told radio DZMM.
(Here in Comelec, we are a bit alarmed over this trend.)
The poll body, he said, would seek a dialogue with candidates and law enforcers in a bid to come up with a consensus on security arrangements.
Quezon City may also be included in the election watchlist following Beltran's slay.
Daraga town in Albay was earlier placed under Comelec control, which gives the poll body authority over law enforcers in the area.
DZMM, 31 January 2019