Sinas tells Jaen politikos Austria, Esquivel: Control your supporters
Philippine National Police (PNP) chief, Gen. Debold Sinas, urged parties contesting the mayoralty seat in Jaen, Nueva Ecija to keep their supporters under control.
“I urge both parties to keep their respective political supporters under control and to refrain from taking actions detrimental to public order and safety. The PNP will not take sides on this political contest, but will be firm and decisive in enforcing the law and implementing legal orders,” he said in a statement Wednesday night.
Sinas had instructed PNP Regional Director (RD) for Central Luzon, Brig. Gen. Valeriano de Leon, to coordinate with the Department of the Interior and Local Government Regional Office for an immediate solution that will diffuse the ongoing political tension in Jaen.
The 8 p.m. explosion Tuesday in the town proper has all the indications of political motive apparently related to the ongoing political tensions, he added.
“This is already the second incident of this nature—with striking similarities to the first incident of explosion and power blackout on December 20, 2020,” Sinas said.
In both explosions, post-blast investigation shows similarities in the bomb signature and components used in the construction of both improvised explosive devices, indicating that it may be the handiwork of the same suspect.
“Meantime that the PNP is awaiting further orders from DILG, my instruction to RD PRO3 is to ensure that a safe buffer is maintained between both parties and their supporters to prevent possible direct confrontation and escalation of violence,” Sinas said.
An unidentified suspect also hurled a grenade at the house of Jaen Mayor Sylvia Austria before dawn on Saturday. Tension also gripped Jaen in the last week of January this year during a confrontation at the municipal hall between Austria’s supporters and those of Antonio Esquivel.
Austria was declared the winner in the May 2019 elections but she stepped down from office in December last year after the Regional Trial Court Branch 87 handed down a decision in favor of Esquivel’s election protest.
The Commission on Elections Second Division, on Jan. 12, 2021, however, issued a status quo ante-order reinstating Austria as the mayor.
Esquivel did not accept the Comelec order and the resolution of the Sangguniang Bayan recognizing Austria as the duly elected mayor.
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