July 15, 2024

Seven candidates for councilor, who are known allies of the incumbent mayor and vice mayor of Pilar, Abra withdrew from the May 9 elections following the March 29 standoff between armed men and the police in the municipality.
Those who withdrew their candidacies on April 6 were Leilanie Disono, Teresita Doral, Rogelio Ciervo, Timoteo Dasalla, and Macario Guzman. Incumbent Councilor George Dela Rosa Sotelo and Crescencia Sotelo Ferido withdrew their candidacy the following day, the Municipal Election Office of Pilar reported.
The seven candidates are running under the slate of Kilusang Bagong Lipunan led by reelectionist Mayor Mark Roland Somera and Vice Mayor Jaja Josefina Somera-Disono, who are siblings.
Only incumbent Councilor Mario Molina Bañez, who is seeking for reelection, was left in the slate of KBL with the Somera siblings.
The Somera slate is going against the complete slate of mayoralty bet Tyron Christopher Beroña and vice mayoral bet Samson Laguesma under the Nacionalista Party.
Earlier, a two-day standoff between the security personnel of Somera-Disono and the police ensued, when the staff of the former failed to stop at a joint police-Comelec checkpoint in Pilar. One of the vice mayor’s security aides was killed during the alleged shootout, when the police pursued Disono’s personnel.  
In a radio interview, Comelec Abra Election Officer Rodrigo Basa II said the candidates did not give a reason for withdrawing.
Out of the 27 towns of Abra, Pilar, Bangued, Lagayan, and Dolores are placed under the yellow category of Comelec due to history of intense political rivalries.
Basa said they are waiting for the visit of the Comelec central office, which will evaluate the situation in the province, particularly in Pilar.
As for the safety of election servers, Basa said he received feedback that some of the teachers who will serve in the various polling precincts are worried with the current situation.
The Police Regional Office-Cordillera has deployed additional personnel in Pilar to ensure peace and order. – Ofelia C. Empian