Comelec orders Bicol provincial jails under BJMP control during election period

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Sorsogon Provincial Jail inmates perform exercises during the prison week celebration. Photo by BicolToday.com
Sorsogon Provincial Jail inmates perform exercises during the prison week celebration. BICOTODAY.COM FILE PHOTO

LEGAZPI CITY, 11Oct2013 (PNA) – The Commission on Elections (Comelec) Bicol regional office has asked jail officials to place all provincial jails in the region under the control of the Bureau of Jail Management and Penology (BJMP) during the barangay election period.

The move is based on Comelec Resolution No. 9690 requiring all provincial jails to be placed under the control of the BJMP during the election period so that prisoners will not be used in the illegal activities of politicians as had been experienced during previous elections.

Regional police records showed that in previous elections, some provincial jail prisoners had been set free and being used by unscrupulous politicians as goons to terrorize voters, especially in Masbate.

Comelec and Philippine National Police (PNP) regional officials expect this coming village polls in the region to be troublesome and bloody as so far, cases of election-related killings have already been reported.

Leading in the report is the province of Masbate, which has been considered by the PNP as an area of concern in Bicol due to recorded criminal cases that so far taken place in the area.

The PNP said the Bicol region was the model in placing provincial jails under the control of the BJMP during the previous nation elections.

At present, police authorities are visiting provincial jails and conducting an accounting of prisoners to ensure that none of them will be set out during this election period.

Based on the Comelec resolution, setting a prisoner out of jail is a violation of Sec. 261 of the Omnibus Election Code and has a corresponding penalty.

The Comelec issued the resolution on the request of Department of Interior and Local Government Secretary Mar Roxas II that provincial jails in several provinces be placed under the control of the BJMP.

Aside from Bicol provinces, others included in the order are Abra, Pangasinan, Ilocos Sur, La Union, Cagayan, Pampanga, Nueva Ecija, Batangas, Cavite, Samar, Misamis Occidental, Maguindanao, Lanao Del Sur at Basilan. (PNA)

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