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KORONADAL, Philippines – Several dozen police officers in South Cotabato have been relieved and assigned elsewhere because they have relatives running either for barangay or Sangguniang Kabataan (SK) positions in their places of assignment.
The move was part of the preparations in the province for the upcoming grassroots elections on October 30.
The transfers involved at least 66 police officers from 10 police stations in the province, including 11 from the provincial capital city of Koronadal, Colonel Cydric Tamayo, South Cotabato’s police director, said on Wednesday, September 20.
“They must be transferred because these policemen have [close] relatives who are running for positions in the upcoming elections,” Tamayo said.
At least 11 police officers have been relieved from the Lake Sebu Municipal Police Station, 10 from the Norala town police, eight from the Banga town police, six from Tboli town, and five each from the police stations in Tampakan town, Tantangan, and the provincial police headquarters.
The police stations in Surallah and Santo Niño towns each have a police officer who has been ordered to be transferred elsewhere.
Tamayo said the transfer will be temporary, and the affected police officers will return to their posts after the election period.
The police in South Cotabato said they have been closely monitoring at least 20 villages in the province as potential areas of concern during the October elections.
South Cotabato police spokesperson Major Erika Vallejo said they have been evaluating records of political rivalries and the presence of armed groups victimizing candidates in these villages, especially in the towns of Lake Sebu and Tupi.
Vallejo said the police have been in close contact with local officials in their efforts to have a better assessment of what to expect during the elections.
Tamayo told reporters that they received reports about the presence of armed groups in the towns of Polomolok, Tampakan, and Tboli.
He said at least two villages in each of the three towns were potential areas of concern.
Tamayo said more villages in the province may be added to the list of areas of concern as the election nears. – Rappler.com