By Joseph John J. Perez
LEGAZPI CITY (24May2013) – The Commission on Election (Comelec) regional office here has recommended to the commission’s headquarters to grant compensation to the family of the policeman from Masbate who died while performing his election duties.
Lawyer Romeo Fortes, Comelec Bicol regional election director, has requested Comelec Chairman Sixto Brillantes, Jr. to provide monetary benefits to the family of the late Police Officer 2 Jesus Apostol who fell into the sea and suffered from a heart attack while escorting the transport of the Precinct Count Optical Scan (PCOS) machine and election paraphernalia in Masbate barely a week before the polls.
The Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) has cited Apostol who sacrificed his life for the elections and further assured his family of compensation.
“Comelec Resolution No. 9640 only provides insurance and compensation for teachers who sustain accidents or deaths while performing election duties,” Fortes said.
“Elections on every part of the country would have not been successful and peaceful if not for the vigor of our men in uniform,” Fortes said.
“Had it not to their unwavering bravery, the security of our Board of Election Inspectors (BEI) would have been compromised, as well as the PCOS machines. Their participation must therefore be highly considered,” Fortes said.
“It is only just proper that they be given the same treatment accorded to the teachers,” Fortes said.
Fortes recommends that the same compensation extended to the BEIs should be granted to the family of Apostol considering that his death happened while he was performing his election duties.
Fortes even mentioned that all COMELEC deputized agencies must be given the same benefits in case of death or accident.
Apostol was the team leader of the joint elements of the Regional Public Safety Batallion and San Pascual Municipal Police Station in Masbate. He accidentally fell into the sea while on board a motorized boat when he was detailed to secure the transport of the PCOS machines to the polling places of San Jacinto. He was found unconscious and later on declared dead.
The entire Bicol Region registered only one election-related death in a province which is entirely declared under election watch list by the Philippine National Police (PNP) with no single bullet fired.
Earlier, PNP 5 regional director Chief Superintendent Clarence Guinto wrote a letter to Comelec through the Office of the Regional Election Officer in Bicol requesting for compensation of Apostol’s heirs, Fortes said.
Apostol together with Police Officer 1 Agerico Afable of Borongan, Samar who was shoot to death by unidentified assailants while guarding a PCOS machine in Barangay Calingatngan were recognized as heroes by DILG Secretary Mar Roxas during the Flag Raising Ceremony at Camp Crame in Quezon City early this week. [PIA5-Albay]