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10 hot spots tagged

WITH nine days left before the barangay elections on Oct. 28, the Philippine National Police tagged 10 more barangays in Metro Manila as “critical areas” where potential violence could erupt due to intense political rivalries. Metro Manila police director Chief Supt. Marcelo Garbo said the 10 additional villages in the cities in Quezon, Valenzuela, Pasig, Malabon, Navotas, Caloocan, Manila, Taguig and Makati, bring to 40 the number of barangays identified as hot spots and targets of intensified police operation. Garbo identified the villages as Barangays 503 in Manila, Maharlika in Taguig and Pio del Pilar in Makati, Barangay 587 in Caloocan, Wawang in Valenzuela, Pineda in Pasig, Santo Domingo in Quezon City, Catmon and Navotas West in Navotas City and North Bay Blvd South in Malabon City. Garbo made the announcement Commission on Elections Chairman Sixto Brillantes Jr. left for Bohol province on Saturday to determine whether the Oct. 28 barangay elections can push through after a 7.2 magnitude earthquake that rocked the province last Tuesday. At a weekly forum at Annabel’s in Quezon City, Comelec lawyer-spokesperson James Jimenez said Brillantes received information that over 50 schools in Bohol were severely damaged by the strong quake and that he wanted to see for himself if those structures could still be used as poll precincts. “It is only prudent to check if those schools are safe or not. The safety of the voters is paramount,” he told reporters. The postponement of the barangay elections is likely in Bohol, but no in Cebu, he said. “If schools in Bohol have suffered major destruction, then we might cancel the election, and hold a special election between Nov. 25 and Nov. 29 to avoid confronting the issue of hold-over positions for the incumbent barangay officials,” he raised. “Even our Comelec offices were not spared from the quake, and our election paraphernalia were destroyed.” Meanwhile, a companion of a barangay chairman in Calasiao, Pangasinan was killed after he was attacked by three assailants in Poblacion East on Friday. The victim was not identified pending notification of his kin, but he is said to be an ally of village head Majadiva Mesina of Brgy. Longos in Calasiao. Two of Mesina’s supporters were also wounded. Mesina, according to police investigators, was on board a Toyota Grandia Hi-ace when he was waylaid by three unidentified suspects riding a motorcycle at about 4 pm. Garbo, for his part, said that they are beefing up security preparation for elections to deter violence, though he declined to provide specific figures of the actual deployment of police forces in areas tagged as hot spots. Garbo said that security efforts has already netted 405 violators of the implementation of gun ban across the country. Of the 405 arrested, 384 were civilians with 5 policemen, 3 military men, 2 government official, 11 blue guards while 324 assorted firearms confiscated including 14 gun replicas, 128 bladed weapons, 128 grenades and 85 other explosives  and 2,513 different ammunition. With Rio Araja
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