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Comelec chief to visit Abra to verify massive BSKE candidacy withdrawal reports

Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, October 27) — Commission on Elections (Comelec) Chairman George Garcia said he will personally visit Abra province to verify reports of massive withdrawal of candidacies for the barangay and Sangguniang Kabataan elections (BSKE).

Speaking to reporters on Friday, Garcia said he will visit the province ahead of the election day proper on Oct. 30, as there were conflicting reports from the provincial election supervisor and the security forces.

He said 254 candidates withdrew from the race and 58 teachers signified they will not serve as electoral board members.

RELATED: PNP monitoring Abra's massive withdrawal of candidacies for BSKE

«Gusto kong i-verify mismo 'yung Abra kasi magkakaiba 'yung reports, magkakaiba 'yung figures. Hindi pupuwedeng ganun,» the poll body chief said.

[Translation: I want to verify myself the situation in Abra because there are different reports and different figures, It should not be like that.]

“So gusto natin malaman ano talaga ano ‘yung tunay na sitwasyon doon," he said. «Ayaw natin na magulantang lalong lalo na sa isyu diyan sa Abra.”

[Translation: So we want to check the real situation on the ground. We don’t want to be shocked especially on issues in Abra.]

Rafael Olaño, Comelec deputy executive director for operations; and Teopisto Elnas Jr., executive director, visited Baguio City on Wednesday to meet with regional poll officials, the police, candidates, and teachers.

Olaño earlier said the situation in Abra is „contained“ and there is no need to place the province under Comelec control.

Fourteen barangays in Abra have been classified under the yellow category for areas of concern. It means they have a history of election-related incidents in the last elections, possible employment of partisan armed groups, occurrence of politically motivated election-related incidents and were previously declared under Comelec control.

Two incidents of violence have taken place in the province amid the election period: a barangay councilor candidate was shot dead in Bucay town and the wife of a barangay chief bet was kidnapped.

The Philippine National Police assigned 150 more personnel to the province to