Village leaders trade blows over rice campaign giveaways
ZAMBOANGA CITY, Philippines — Five kilos of rice for your vote? It’s not that cheap or uncomplicated, as a candidate in the May 13 elections in Isabela City, Basilan, may soon find out.
Not after village officials fought over the distribution of the rice packs to residents and ended up punching each other.
Police have kept mum on the identity of the candidate whose campaign leaders unloaded the rice at Riverside barangay hall in the city at half past noon on May 2.
Lt. Col. William Gadayan, chief of the Isabela City police, did not identify the candidate or the candidate’s political party pending investigation of the incident.
Gadayan said Barangay Riverside Councilor Nurmina Abduhalim Abbas, 43, complained to the city’s police station that one of her colleagues, Councilor Kadil Bapora, 53, punched her in the face while they were trying to get hold of the rice packs being distributed at the barangay hall.
“Abbas suffered facial injuries and her denture was broken,” Gadayan said.
He did not say what prompted Bapora to punch Abbas or whether Bapora also sustained injuries.
After the 2013 midterm polls, the Commission on Elections disqualified the Mayor of Roxas, Isabela province, for vote-buying.
The petition for the disqualification of Mayor Benedict Calderon accused him of distributing cash gifts, rice and pigs to voters.
Election observers in Isabela City said candidates in past elections in the city usually distributed rice packs to residents in hopes of securing their votes. —Julie Alipala
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