House probe of violence during barangay polls sought
MANILA Philippines — Deputy Majority Leader Rep. David Suarez is seeking a congressional inquiry into several violent incidents that marred last month’s Barangay and Sangguniang Kabataan elections (BSKE).
The Quezon province lawmaker filed House Resolution No. 1479 urging the House committees on good government and public accountability and on suffrage and electoral reforms to look into the violence, harassment and intimidation, and other criminal acts before, during, and after the conduct of the elections.
“It is imperative upon the House of Representatives to ensure that laws governing the elections and the prosecution of election-related violence are fully implemented, to prevent the recurrence of these unlawful acts in time of elections, and to craft necessary legislative measures to address this alarming matter,” Suarez stressed, claiming a seeming “law enforcement failure” in investigating and prosecuting election-related violence.
He cited an Oct. 31 report from the Commission on Elections, which showed that 19 people were killed and 19 others were injured during the election period across the country. The poll body was also investigating 113 cases of violence to determine their link to the elections.
The lawmaker further cited several incidents of harassment and intimidation observed by poll watchers in a number of barangays in Lucena City which, he said, “caused delay and created a hostile environment” in some of the polling centers.
Meanwhile, the Philippine National Police confirmed 96 election-related incidents nationwide from Aug. 28 to Nov. 10, where 55 happened in the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region and a total of 20 occurred in Northern Mindanao and the Eastern Visayas.
According to Suarez, “It has become a sad norm in every election that a large number of politicians, candidates, supporters, and voters are harassed and, in some instances, even killed before, during, and after the elections, barangay elections included.” INQ