MANILA—Senator Nancy Binay urged the Commission on Elections (Comelec) on Saturday to declare Albay as an election "hotspot" following the killing of a congressman there.
Ako Bicol party-list Rep. Rodel Batocabe was gunned down Saturday afternoon in his hometown Daraga during a gift-giving activity.
Batocabe, who is in his last term as a congressman, was eyeing the mayoral post in Daraga for next year's polls.
Binay, in a statement, said Albay may be susceptible to violence in next year’s elections following the murder.
"I urge the Commission on Elections to declare Albay an election hotspot to guarantee the safety of every Albayanon," she said.
"Sa nakalipas na mga buwan, election-related killings and murders have increased, pero kung di tayo seryosong harapin ang mga kasong ito para magkaroon ng hustisya, no amount of condemnation would bring justice to the victims and their families," she added, noting the killing of 2 mediamen in the province earlier this year.
(In the past months, election-related killings and murders have increased, but if we are not serious in bringing these cases to justice, no amount of condemnation would bring justice to the victims and their families.)
The Philippines is set to hold its midterm elections in May next year.
Akbayan party-list Rep. Tom Villarin, meanwhile, said Batocabe's death comes as a shock since the slain lawmaker was the "leading" candidate for the mayoralty race in Daraga.
"I was in Daraga last December 9 for a conference and there was no inkling from Cong Rodel that he was in harm's way when we talked briefly," Villarin said in a statement.
"He was considered the leading mayoralty candidate in a three-way fight being the only pureblood Daraganon."
The Philippine National Police on Saturday created a special task force to investigate Batocabe's killing.
Malacañang has also vowed to bring the perpetrators to justice.