By Dominique Gabriel G. Bañaga
After Moises Padilla was placed under control of the Commission on Elections (Comelec) during last week’s midterm elections following a series of shooting incidents that claimed the lives of two councilors running for reelection, along with a former town official, the Armed Forces of the Philippines and the Philippine National Police announced they will be conducting an assessment of the threat level the New People’s Army (NPA) and similar armed groups pose to the municipality.
While Philippine Army 303rd Infantry Brigade commander, Colonel Benedict Arevalo, earlier described election in Moises Padilla as “peaceful and manageable,” reports claim there are still NPA and other insurgent groups present in the area.
The situation in the town drew national attention with President Rodrigo Duterte earlier meeting with both then-Moises Padilla Mayor Magdaleno Peña and then-Vice Mayor Ella Celestina Garcia-Yulo. The latter unseated the incumbent in the recent polls.
During his meeting with the president, Peña said he fought against illegal drugs and the NPA in the town but claimed the vice mayor “got in the way” when he discovered, of the 18 drug dealers in town, nine were allegedly employed by the vice mayor.
Comelec is set to end control of the town next month./DGB, WDJ