‘Minor’ kinks fail to derail barangay polls
Good news” from Commission on Elections chairman Sixto Brillantes Jr.
Unlike in the May 2013 national polls, the Comelec had little difficulty in conducting yesterday’s barangay polls covering more than 42,000 barangays all over the country.
In Central Visayas, poll officials likewise said the elections were “generally peaceful and successful”.
“So far, the Comelec command center has received mostly reports about minor incidents. That’s the good news,” Brillantes said.
The poll body said there were “minor” included of ballot box snatching, tension between candidates, Molotov bomb explosion and delayed opening of polling precinct, among others.
Commissioner Grace Padaca, who was in Cebu City to monitor a special precinct in the mall for senior citizens and people with disabilities, said elections in Cebu and the region were “generally peaceful.”
Election paraphernalia were delivered on time, she said.
“Malaking bagay na hindi sila nara-rattle sa delay,” she said. Early delivery helped teachers, who served as members of the Board of Election Inspectors, remain calm and composed by the time voting started at 7 a.m.
Comelec Regional Director Temie Lambino said there were no major obstacles except for isolated cases of violence in Cebu and disruption in the voting in a barangay in Catmon town where armed men reportedly tried to prevent some residents from casting their ballots.
He said voter turnout is estimated to reach 87 percent or higher than the 82-83 percent recorded in the national and local elections in May.
“There was no failure of election even in one precinct,” he said.
Comelec said a police officer in Catmon town would be investigated after she told a TV news crew that there was failure of elections in barangay Amacion of Catmon.
Commissioner Padaca said PO1 Mary Grace Marquez was not in the position to declare this, only the Comelec.
Voting in barangay Amacion started at 1 p.m. A police and military team arrived to secure the polling area.
As of 1 p.m yesterday, 79 people were arrested for violating the gun ban which is in effect until Nov. 28.
Police seized at least 59 guns and almost the same number of bladed weapons.
A total of 17 people in Cebu were also arrested for violating the liquor ban as of 1 p.m.
Chief Supt. Danilo Constantino of the Police Regional Office 7 denied reports that armed men of a candidate in Compostela town had terrorized a barangay. He said a major road in the town was made impassable after a coconut tree was cut down to block the highway.
Constantino also said a shooting incident in San Fernando town was not election-related. (See story on Page 7)
A checkpoint was set up at 9 a.m in San Fernando town after reports were received that armed men were in the area to disrupt the elections.
“It was negative, the area is cleared,” said Supt. Sara Jane Recla, town police chief.
In Danao City, barangay councilman Eduardito Durano was accused of poking a gun at another candidate Thomas Batucan in barangay Poblacion.
The incident was recorded in the police blotter. Eduardito’s brother, Jesus “Don” Durano, was a candidate for barangay chairman.
Jesus was reported to have hurled a bottle at a group of candidates.
Don Durano lost his bid as Poblacion barangay captain to former professional basketball player, Calvin Tuadles by only 15 votes.
Tuadles got 1858 votes to Durano’s 1843.
Lionel Marco Castillano, provincial elections officer, said the Danao situation was still “peaceful” with no election-related killings. /Reporters Ador Vincent S. Mayol and Jucell Marie P. Cuyos, Correspondents Jhunnex Napallacan, Apple Ta-as, Michelle Joy L. Padayhag, Chito O. Aragon and Jose Santino S. Bunachita with STC Intern Fresha Anne Endico and Inquirer