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More bets withdraw from Abra BSKE

BAGUIO CITY, Philippines —More candidates in the barangay and Sangguniang Kabataan elections (BSKE) in Abra have reportedly withdrawn from the race, according to the Commission on Elections (Comelec).

As of Friday, 250 BSKE aspirants had withdrawn their candidacies, according to provincial election supervisor Mae Richelle Belmes.

Most of those who quit are candidates in the SK polls who have relatives holding elective positions in the local government, Belmes said.

These candidates want to avoid disqualification in case they win in the BSKE, she said.

Belmes said there were also candidates running for barangay chairman and kagawad who were allegedly “forced to quit the race.”

She said without a formal complaint, the poll body could not file a case against anyone who coerced the candidates to withdraw from the BSKE.

The Comelec office in Abra said among those who withdrew from the BSKE were 48 bets for barangay captain, 88 for kagawad, 24 for SK chair and 90 for SK member.

Abra’s capital town Bangued recorded the highest number of BSKE candidates who withdrew with 49 followed by Licuaan-Baay with 40 and Tineg with 23.

Of the 27 municipalties in Abra, only three towns –Danglas, Langiden and La Paz – reported no withdrawal from the BSKE.

The Cordillera police yesterday sent 100 more police officers to maintain peace and order in Abra.

Forty-eight barangays in the province were recently recommended as election areas of concern due to poll-related violence and intense political rivalry.

Meanwhile, at least 2,000 personnel from the police, military, coast guard and other government agencies were deployed yesterday in Ilocos Norte to secure the elections.

Col. Julius Suriben said the contingent would be deployed in 21 towns as well as in the cities of Laoag and Batac.

In Central Luzon, 10,000 police officers were deployed in different provinces and municipalities to secure the BSKE.

To maximize the deployment, officers normally handling desk and educational matters were assigned to polling stations.

Brig. Gen. Jose Hidalgo Jr., Central Luzon police director, appealed to the public to help authorities secure the electoral exercises.

In Calabarzon (Cavite, Laguna,