DAVAO CITY — The canvassing of votes in New Bataan, Compostela Valley Province, was stopped last night after the town’s election officer allegedly received a death threat.
Armeli Entero, acting election officer of New Bataan, told davatoday.com that a threatening text message was sent to her from an unknown sender yesterday. She was told to get out of the room where the canvassing was being held or else she would be killed.
Entero said she immediately informed the Comelec about the threat and was told to stop the canvassing.
At least 35 out of the 105 election returns had been opened when the canvassing was stopped at 6 p.m., Entero said. A blackout also ensued moments later.
Melcar Unso, the regional Comelec spokesman, said in an interview with RMN-DXDC last night that the Comelec’s regional director, Rene Tambuang, immediately tasked the Philippine National Police and the Armed Forces to secure the canvassing area after receiving the report from Entero.
Prior to the suspension of the canvassing, police and military men were already visible in the vicinity of the town hall where the canvassing of votes was being conducted. The town hall is located near a military detachment under the 28th Infantry Battalion.
Compostela Valley has earlier been declared as one of the “areas of immediate concern” in the country, in which the Comelec can call on the AFP to deploy more troops to support the police.
More than 1,000 troops were earlier deployed to Compostela Valley for the elections, making the province the place with the highest number of augmentation troops in the whole Southern Mindanao region.
Unso also said that the Comelec has appointed a replacement for Entero. The Comelec did not give a specific time when the canvassing will resume. (Cheryll D. Fiel/davaotoday.com)2007 Elections