Provincial Supervisor Juvenal Tuale of the Commission on Election said politicians are safe to campaign even in the remotest barangay of Negros Oriental, amid concerns that rebels may stage attacks on the candidates and their supporters.
Tuale said he has not received any complaint from candidates about harassments by rebels on the campaign trail. He also said soldiers should not serve as close-in bodyguards of candidates.
He said he is unaware that some politicians chose to pay permit to campaign fees in areas considered to be under the influence of the rebel movement.
The Philippine National Police also said there is no credible threat against candidates on the campaign trail.
Deputy Director Supt. Alet Virtucio of the Negros Oriental Police Provincial Office said the rebels’ influence and strength have significantly dropped.
He, however, admitted that one of the candidates reportedly paid the so-called rebels’ “permit to campaign fee” but no solid evidences were gathered to warrant a full investigation and prosecution. Paying rebels in cash, arms or food is an electoral offense.*RG
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