BY GILBERT P. BAYORAN
Several incumbent mayors in Negros Occidental are asking for police security escorts as the campaign for local candidates kicks off March 25, deputy provincial police spokesperson PLt. Abegael Donasco confirmed yesterday.
All the requests for security escorts will be scrutinized by the Joint Provincial Security Coordinating Center, with approval only coming from the Commission on Elections, Donasco stressed.
The clarification was made by Donasco in the wake of reports that candidates maybe barred by the New People’s Army from entering to their so-called “guerilla zone” should they fail to pay “permit to campaign” fees.
While they have yet to receive complaints from candidates who maybe victimized by NPA extortion activities, Donasco urged those who may receive extortion letters to directly inform PCol. Leo Pamittan, provincial police director of Negros Occidental, for immediate action.
Candidates should probe if their safety is at riskso that the PNP can provide security to them, with approval from JPSCC and Comelec, she added.
Brig. Gen. Inocencio Pasaporte, 303rd Infantry Brigade commander, urged candidates in the May 9 national and local elections to reject the extortion demands of the CPP-NPA during the campaign period.
Based on their usual practice, the NPA would send extortion letters to candidates to demand cash in exchange for the so-called “permit to campaign”.*