Assessing Cebu for 2010 Election's Areas of Concern

Police, Comelec to assess province LGUs for hotspots

The Cebu Provincial Police Office (CPPO) is looking into reports that some organized crime groups were operating in the towns of Dumanjug and Ronda.

Senior Supt. Jesus Gaquing, CPPO director, said his men arrsted Mario Omboy, an alleged member of organized crime groups operating in these two towns and other southern towns.

He said that they were checking on the presence of these groups in the south since they might be used by political groups during the elections.

He added that Ronda and Dumanjug might be among the towns he would recommend to be classified as immediate area of concern.

Ronda Vice Mayor Mariano Blanco III planned to ask for police security if their town would be identified as among the areas of concern.

Blanco of One Cebu is challenging the reelection bid of Mayor Esteban Sia of the Liberal Party.

Ronda town, about 81.9 km south of Cebu City, was among those identified as areas of concern in the 2007 election due to the intense political rivalry between Blanco's family and Sia.

In 2007, Blanco had asked for police escorts but was just told to be careful since he failed to enter in the police blotter reported threats on his security.

On Nov. 1, 2007, two bodyguards of Sia were shot by men on board a motorcycle. One of the victims died.

Police considered politics and personal grudge as possible motives in the shooting.

The Blancos have dominated Ronda politics for 20 years until sia won in the 2007 mayoral race.

Sia defeated Blanco’s mother, former vice mayor Ma. Victoria Blanco.

In Dumanjug, Nelson Garcia, younger brother of Gov. Gwen Garcia, is seeking election against Christopher Baricuatro, son of outgoing Mayor Cesar Baricuatro who is running for congressman in the 2nd district.

Nelson said he was happy that his family members were supporting his bid.

There are three criteria for identifying a local government unit as an election hotspot: history of violence, intensity of political rivalry and the presence of armed goons.

The Commission on Election provincial office had yet to verify whether or not Ronda town is an election hotspot.

Comelec provincial supervisor Lionel Castillano noted the intense political rivalry in Ronda which he acknowledged may lead to violence later on.

He, however, said they have yet to receive guidelines from their central office concerning the classification of hotspots.

Should Ronda be declared under Comelec control, he said they can order the deployment of army and police personnel to secure the town.

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Cebu Governor and Vice Governor Candidates

Governor
Ajoc, Rafael Jun Cesar (Jun Cesar) – Independent
Berizo, Godofredo Rojas (Fred) – PGRP
Davide, Hilario III (Junjun) – Liberal Party
Garcia, Gwendolyn Fiel (Gwen) – LKCMD Party

Vice Governor

Balicoco, Eladia Mendaro (Eldie) – PGRP
Sanchez, Gregorio Jr. Gallarde (Greg) – LP
Soco, Glenn Anthony Ocampo (Glenn) –LKCMD

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