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Bacolod City, Philippines Tuesday, February 2, 2016
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Anonymous tips urged
versus armed groups

The Commission on Elections will entertain tips on the presence of armed groups operating in Negros Occidental given by persons who wish to remain anonymous, Elections Provincial Supervisor Jessie Suarez said yesterday.

Anyone who has knowledge of armed groups in their areas is encouraged to report their presence directly to the Comelec, so the PNP and Army can be directed to conduct investigations, he said.

“We will entertain anonymous informants, and we will verify what they have to say,” Suarez said.

The informants can submit written reports to the Comelec or to the PNP, he said.

Suarez said he is happy to hear that the police will investigate the presence of reported armed men in Isabela.

Some agrarian reform beneficiaries (ARBs) who had allegedly leased their land formerly owned by the family of former First Gentleman Jose Miguel Arroyo in Hacienda Bacan, Barangay Guintubhan, Isabela town, Negros Occidental, to slain Board Member Renato Malabor, Sunday said they are alarmed by the presence of armed men on their property.

Gov. Alfredo Marañon Jr. yesterday said the Isabela ARBs, in the first place, should have not leased the land awarded to them, but the trouble is they wanted to make money right away.

Suarez said he will seek a report from the PNP on the situation in Isabela.

He is also waiting for the police verification of Gov. Alfredo Marañon's statement that there are five “hotspots” in the province.

“We have to verify, we cannot simply make a judgment,” Suarez said.

Meanwhile, he called on candidates to make the coming elections peaceful and to campaign on a high level.

He also reminded the police, Army and Department of Education personnel to be impartial during the conduct of the polls “because the people are watching us.”

“Let us be friendly to everybody but let us not compromise the mandate given to us by our Constitution,” Suarez said.

Suarez also said while the honoraria of the Board of Election Inspectors is expected to be hiked, a Comelec resolution on the matter will be needed.*CPG



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