Manila – The Commission on Elections (Comelec) and the Philippine National Police (PNP) confirmed cases of violence around the country pertaining to the conduct of 2013 barangay elections on October 28.
In the afternoon of the day of elections, Comelec received a total of 28 reports with regard to peace and security which were described by Comelec chairman Sixto Brillantes Jr as “isolated cases.”
The PNP on the other hand, has recorded 40 incidents of election-related violence which shows an upward trend of 40% compared to the 2010 barangay elections.
On and before the day of electing, some provinces in Visayas and Mindanao solicited reports on violence and harassment.
In Barangay Gucutan, Pikit, North Cotabato, the house of the candidate for chairmain Satar Kabunto was allegedly attacked with an M79 grenade launcher by an unidentified suspect. The accuracy of the report is yet confirmed and investigation is now ongoing.
In Barangay Marfil, Rosario, Agusan Del Norte, the Comelec reported that voters were allegedly held up by people of the incumbent barangay chairman.
Meanwhile, elections in the three barangays in Samar were moved on October 29 due to serious issues of violence which includes 162 villages as hotspots.
According to Comelec, an explosion was heard in Barangay Giaboc in the town of Gandara which caused voters and the Board of Election tellers to panic so only 20 voters were able to successfully cast their votes before the suspension was declared. Men with firearms and bladed weapons were seen inside the polling area.
In Barangay Banaaw, Santa Margarita, voters and poll officials reported seeing armed men in the venue which terrified voters and caused suspension.
In Barangay Dogongan, Jiabong, incumbent barangay chairman Carlito Laboc allegedly invited fist fights with people to halt the voting.
On the other hand, vote buying, illegal campaigning, and gun ban violation were eyed and reported in Metro Manila. Mario Yu Sulayao of Pasig City was arrested for carrying a .45 caliber gun while Richard Bautista of Makati City was apprehended of vote buying.
The PNP recorded a total of 5 election-related killings in Negros Occidental, Maguindanao, Basilan, and Samar. (Elaine Faye M. Abueva, ABCom/LNU)