The Commission on Elections will do well to place La Union under military protection to prevent the spread of violence, following the killings of several politicians. According to Rep. Sandra Eriguel who hails from the province.
In a Nov. 20 letter, Eriguel urged Comelec chairman Sheriff Abbas to step into the peace and order situation in the municipalities of Agoo, Bauang, Caba and Tubao in District 2, raising concern over the possible eruption of election-related violence even before the 2019 mid-term elections.
The lawmaker’s plea arose from the spate of murder of her husband, former representative Eufranio Eriguel, and his two bodyguards, who were shot repeatedly on May 12 during a caucus meeting in Barangay Capas, Agoo.
“At the time of my husband’s murder, our police security details, including those of my daughter, Agoo Mayor Stefanie Ann Y. Eriguel, were pulled out which left us vulnerable to any attack,” her letter read.
“The death of my husband was not the last of violent incidents that erupted in our province. The recent ambush on Sudipen Mayor Allan Buquing and Balaoan Vice Mayor Alfred Concepcion which resulted in their deaths as well as of their police security details, placed La Union again in the headline news.”
The late Eriguel survived a bombing attack on April 30, 2016, or barely two weeks from the 2016 national and local elections.
“Apart from these, local leaders were also gunned down, particularly in the towns of Bauang and Tubao but these were not reported in the national media,” she said.
Eriguel sought assistance from the Philippine Army and Department of National Defense to secure the safety of politicians themselves and the voting public, and ensure clean and honest elections.
She claimed she instructed her chief of staff to file her certificate of candidacy with Comelec in October after receiving death threats.
“To this date, I continue to receive information of ongoing threats to me and my family as well as my allies in politics,” she said.
“To await the start of the election period might become too late for us. The augmentation of the Philippine Army personnel in our area will provide a strong deterrent against the evil forces that are currently roaming our beloved province. The presence of soldiers will also provide confidence upon our people to exercise their freedom of expression and right to suffrage without fear of threats and violence,” she added.