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Davao del Sur cops tagged 7 towns tagged as poll hot spots*

Digos City-Police are considering at least 5 towns in Davao del Sur as poll hot spots in
the May 2010 elections.

Listed under Category 1, comprising areas with known intense political rivalries, are the
towns of Magsaysay, Sulop, Matanao, and Malita in Davao del Sur.

Under Category 2, or areas where terror groups are present, are the towns of Bansalan,
Hagonoy and Sta. Cruz in Davao del Sur;

Provincial police officials said the declaration was based on the election-related violence
since 2001 election.

Senior Supt. Ronald Dela Rosa, provincial police commander, said that in the town of
Malita , it was regarding the killing of Malita mayoral candidate Isidro Sarmiento and his
son Danny who was shot to death outside allegedly by Rep. Claude Bautista and his
bodyguards.

Rep. Bautista, who is running for Davao del Sur gubernatorial post in 2007, admitted
that it was his bodyguards who shot the Sarmientos but in the act of self-defense as they
were fired at first by the Sarmientos.

Rep. Bautista said he went to the Sarmiento residence to talk to Danny about the
information he received that they have taken some election returns from the Comelec
office in Malita. Rep. Bautista’s brother, Benjamin the incumbent provincial Governor is
Isidro’s rival for the mayoralty position of Malita.

In the middle of their conversation, according to Rep. Bautista, the elder Sarmiento
appeared and fired at them, hitting one bodyguard and that prompted his details to fire
back. The younger Sarmiento then fired upon one of the bodyguards but was also fell
down by the return fire.

In Don Marcelino town, the villages of Lapuan and Kiobog were declared because they
closed the classrooms during last election.

Authorities also tagged Matanao town, after a hand grenade hurt a 12-year girl when it
exploded in front of their house sometimes in November 2009.

Police said the incident has something to do with the upcoming election since both
parents of the girl, was known as political supporters of a local candidate, were shot dead
in the same year..

In Magsaysay, Davao del Sur, a land mine blast after it was place along the village road
in which then Mayor Arthur Davin who was seeking re-election in 2004, was en route to
his house.
Davin who is now the vice mayor of their town is running against incumbent Mayor Jess
Lumanog.

In nearby Bansalan town, a village chair of Linawan was also shot dead in the eve of the
2004 election.

Police have put up checkpoints in the 14 towns and city of Digos 24/7 under the PNP-
Armed Forces of the Philippines Joint Security Control Centers supervised by local
Comelec offices.

*report by Orlando B. Dinoy/Philippine Daily Inquirer - Mindanao