2,400 cops deployed as election tellers in ARMM barangay polls
COTABATO CITY, Philippines — Police in the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM) deployed, on Saturday, about 2,400 policemen to perform election duties and to secure Monday’s barangay (village) election.
Chief Superintendent Noel delos Reyes, ARMM police chief, said most of the policemen who have been tapped as board of election tellers (BETs) came from the National Capital Region and the regions around the ARMM.
During the send-off ceremonies Saturday at the PNP-ARMM regional headquarters in Maguindanao, Delos Reyes directed the police performing election duties to ensure that the political exercise would be peaceful and orderly.
He said the 1,600 cops, who would act as BETs, have undergone training on election duties and have been told to maintain independence.
“They are not from ARMM so they have no relatives in the locality they are to serve,” Delos Reyes told reporters.
ARMM is composed of the provinces of Maguindanao, Lanao del Sur, Basilan, Sulu and Tawi-Tawi where some teachers refused to serve in Monday’s balloting due to security reasons and their affiliations with most of the candidates, by blood and by affinity.
“We expect peaceful election like the May 2013 national and local elections,” Delos Reyes said.
To date, PNP-ARMM has confiscated 17 firearms from 16 persons for violating the election gun ban.
Delos Reyes also announced that 490 villages out of ARMM’s 2,470 barangays have been identified as “areas of immediate concern” due to intense rivalry among local aspirants and due to previous election-related cases of violence or harassment
Of the 490 “hot spots,” Lanao del Sur has the most number of “areas of immediate concern” at 313 barangays, followed by Basilan with 57, Maguindanao 55, Sulu 43 and Tawi-Tawi 15.
On Sunday morning, a reelectionist barangay chairman was abducted in Isabela City in Basilan.
Superintendent Albert Larubis, Isabela City police chief, said the victim, Alrusdi Kamil Jainul, chairman of Tandung Ahas village in Lamitan City, was on his way to Isabela City, when his vehicle was blocked by at least six armed men.
“We consider this as election related, but investigation is ongoing to determine other possible motives,” Larubis said.
In Digos City in Davao del Sur, a barangay tanod (village watchman) was wounded when armed men fired at a barangay hall at around 12:30 a.m. Sunday.
Police identified the wounded barangay watchman as Larry Lemios.
Prior to the shooting, two molotov bombs exploded in two public schools in Digos. The first explosion happened at around 10:50 p.m. Saturday in Don Mariano Marcos Elementary School. Some 30 minutes later, another molotov bomb exploded at the Isaac Abalayan Elementary School in Barangay San Jose.
Supt. Querubin Manalang, Digos City police chief, said two persons onboard a motorcycle hurriedly left after tossing the bombs.
Police said the attacks could be related to the Oct. 28 (Monday) barangay polls and plebiscite for the creation of Davao Occidental.
Senior Supt. Ronaldo Llanera, police chief for Davao del Sur, said 75 policemen from Davao City and soldiers from the Army’s 39th Infantry Battalion would help secure the polls in the province.
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