Despite the raging propaganda battle between local candidates, Senior Supt. Ricardo de la Paz, officer-in-charge of the Negros Occidental Police Provincial Office, yesterday ordered police chiefs to remain focused on their job, and not be distracted by politics.
Text messages are circulating that two mayors and a former official who are supporters of Gov. Alfredo Marañon Jr. are behind the grenade attack at the compound of Mayor Lourdes Escalante, and that armed goons from Tarlac are due to arrive in Negros Occidental.
There are also claims that armed goons from Panay, allegedly maintained by a relative of a northern Negros city mayor, led the grenade attack.
De la Paz said they are conducting an indepth investigation on the M203 grenade firing in Brgy. Punta Mesa, Manapla, and tracing the source of 40mm high explosive grenade empty shell recovered at the town national highway, near the place.
Former Manapla Mayor Manuel Escalante laughed off persistent claims that the explosions that took place at their residential compound was a “drama”, to gain political mileage.
Escalante said the people behind the grenade attack are getting so desperate they will do anything to terrorize those, who are not supporting their candidates.
He also claimed that they already have an idea as to who is behind the circulation of the text messages, against them.
De la Paz, who presided over the command conference of the entire Negros Occidental police chiefs, said they are reviewing and finalizing their security preparations for the May 13 election, in coordination with the Philippine Army and Comelec, to ensure that it will be violence-free.
He calls the grenade attack in Manapla as an “isolated incident”, and that the town is not even included in the election watch list in Negros Occidental.
.”We are on top of the situation, not only in Manapla, but also in the entire province,” de la Paz added.*GPB