LEGAZPI CITY, April 13 (PNA) -- The Commission on Elections (Comelec) and the Philippine National Police (PNP) disapproved the request of the local candidates of the PDP-Laban in Sorsogon to declare the entire province as an election hotspot.
The request of the party was in connection with the harassment experienced by the local candidates, led by gubernatorial candidate Eric Dioneda, son of former Reform the AFP Movement leader and former Sorsogon City mayor Leovic Dioneda.
On April 3 night, Dioneda's group was having a campaign rally in Barangay Hall of Buhatan, Sorsogon City when 20 fully armed men came and told them to stop their campaign.
The young Dioneda said the harassment resulted in fear and trauma among them, especially that the armed men poked guns on the heads of most of them, asked them to drop with heads facing the ground and threatened to kill them.
The PDP-Laban gubernatorial candidate said the Comelec and the PNP did not accede to their party's request as the two agencies considered the incident as an isolated one.
The PNP Provincial Office of Sorsogon said it had already sent police escorts in places where the PDP-Laban group would be campaigning or have political rally.
Meanwhile, PNP Bicol officials based in Camp Gen. Simeon A. Ola here received a report from Sorsogon PPO that it had already identified one of the armed men who harassed the PDP-Laban candidates.
The report identified the driver of the suspects' getaway vehicle as Fernando Domens alias "Metal."
It said the suspects were apparently members of the New People's Army (NPA).
Dioneda confirmed that Domens or Metal was formerly an NPA rebel who has gone to farming.
The police are still looking deeper into the possible identification of the suspects for filing of appropriate charges. (PNA) FFC/FGS/JH/CBD/EBP