‘Peaceful’ polls leave 13 dead | Inquirer News

‘Peaceful’ polls leave 13 dead

Police officers conduct their final preparations like putting barricades around the provincial capitol of the Comelec control province of Abra Sunday. (Leoncio Balbin, Jr- Philippine Daily Inquirer- Northern Luzon Bureau

Police officers conduct their final preparations like putting barricades around the provincial capitol of the Comelec control province of Abra Sunday. (Leoncio Balbin, Jr- Philippine Daily Inquirer- Northern Luzon Bureau

AUTHORITIES described on Monday’s elections as generally peaceful, but 22 scattered incidents of gun battles, ambushes and bombings left at least 13 people dead and a score wounded across the country.

Spokespersons of the Armed Forces of the Philippines and the Philippine National Police said in a joint news briefing the incidents were “isolated” and had no impact on the conduct of the elections.


The worst incident was reported in Rosario, Cavite province, where seven supporters of Mayor Jose Ricafrente Jr. were killed in an ambush by unidentified men on a Mitsubishi Adventure van and two motorcycles at midnight. (See story on Page A6.)


Ricafrente said his political rivals were responsible, but police said an investigation was being conducted and the attackers were unknown.

In Lagayan, Abra province, forces of rival politicians exchanged gunfire, leaving a barangay watchman dead and three others wounded.

A bystander was also killed when a grenade was launched at a market in Cotabato City. The Parish Pastoral Council for Responsible Voting (PPCRV) pulled out volunteers in the area, but its chair, Tita De Villa, stressed its workers remained on the job nationwide.

In Guindulungan, Maguindanao province, a 20-year-old voter was shot dead inside a polling station following a stoning incident at Tambunan Central Elementary School.

In Datu Unsay, also in Maguindanao, Habiri Katapukan, 20, was killed when a rifle grenade was fired in the public market.

In Iloilo province, supporters of mayoral candidate Melina Requinto of Estancio were killed in a gun battle with a group identified with reelectionist Mayor Rene Cordero. Killed were Ronaldo Estandarte, 56, and Roberto Magarso, 44.


Still, Elections Commissioner Rowena Guanzon said the violence would not impact the result, noting they had taken place in known “hot spots” where extra security forces were in place.

The AFP has so far recorded 22 cases of election violence on Monday.

The Western Mindanao Command had the highest number of incidents at 15, while Metro Manila, Western Command and the Eastern Mindanao Command had zero reports.

“We have three area commands which had zero incidents for today… Overall, the conduct of the elections was generally peaceful and orderly,” said Brig. Gen. Restituto Padilla.

The PNP spokesperson, Chief Supt. Wilben Mayor, shared the same assessment, noting that with the more than 92,000 polling precincts all over the Philippines, there were a few incidents in some areas.

“The elections were generally peaceful despite some incidents, the PNP and the AFP are both monitoring all activities on the ground,” he said.

Padilla urged the public “not to highlight the negative” as the affected precincts were less than a percent of the 92,000 polling precincts.

He noted that the bailiwicks of the presidential candidates were generally peaceful and without much incidents, and that most of the election-related violence were reported in the election hot spots.

Both officials noted that the most crucial part of the electoral exercise was during the canvassing of votes, or after the voting period.

Padilla said both the AFP and the PNP would do their best to safeguard their ballots and ensure the credibility of the elections.

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“We have been planning for this with a worst-case scenario in mind,” he said. With reports from Julie M. Aurelio, Jaymee T. Gamil and Estrella Torres in Manila; Joey A. Gabieta, Jhunnex Napallacan, Apple Mae Ta-as, Nester P. Burgos Jr., Jennifer Allegado and Rachel Anaiz, Inquirer Visayas; Jeffrey Maitem, Charlie Señase, Edwin Fernandez, Williamor Magbanua, Richel Umel, Ryan Rosauro and Julie Alipala, Inquirer Mindanao

TAGS: Nation, News, poll violence

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