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For 4 Visayas villages, elections are not over

TACLOBAN CITY—At least 1,400 voters in four villages in the provinces of Cebu, Samar, Northern Samar and Antique are expected to flock to their polling precincts to cast their votes during the special elections Saturday.

The special elections would be held in Barangay Nagpapacao in Matuguinao, Samar, and in Barangay Roxas, Lope de Vega, Northern Samar—both remote villages.

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There was a failure of elections in Nagpapacao, which has 285 registered voters, after armed men barged into polling precincts in the afternoon of May 9, and burned the vote-counting machine and election paraphernalia.

The perpetrators have yet to be identified.

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In Roxas, 169 voters did not go to polling precincts fearing an armed encounter between communist rebels and government soldiers following the killing of an Army soldier by suspected communist snipers on the eve of the elections.

Lt. Gilbert Toledo of the Army’s 82nd Division Reconnaissance Company, and his team were conducting election security preparations in Barangay Roxas, the most remote village in Lope de Vega, around 2:30 p.m. on May 8 when  shot by snipers of the New People’s Army.

Lawyer Dennis Ausan, regional director of the Commission on Elections, said security preparations had been put in place to ensure that the conduct of the special elections in the two villages was peaceful.

Aside from preventing a disenfranchisement of voters in these areas, he added, the special elections were being pushed because results from these could affect the standing of some candidates for councilors.

“This can still materially affect the results of the elections in those municipalities. Just like in Matuguinao, it could still affect the standing of numbers six, seven and eight (council candidates). So we really need to conduct the special elections,” he said.

In the case of Antique, the mayoral race in Anini-y town will depend on the results of the special elections in Barangay Mabuyong.

Out of 691 voters, 268 voters in the village failed to vote in the May 9 elections because of the shortage of ballots. The municipal board of canvassers suspended the proclamation of winners of the mayoral race pending results of the special election because of the tight race between Maxfil Policar (National Unity Party) and Jobert Pahilga (Liberal Party).

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As of Friday noon, Policar was ahead by 65 votes with 3,501 votes followed by Pahilga with 3,436 votes and Jorrey Samplor (United Nationalist Alliance) with 2,113.

Special elections will also be held in Barangay Gabi in Cordova town in Cebu to allow the 436 voters there to cast their votes after no ballot was printed for the village.

Cordova election officer Rafael Nolasco Jr. said notices for the special election had been posted in his office, in the barangay hall of Gabi and in Gabi Elementary School to inform voters.

A liquor ban would be in place for Gabi starting noon to midnight of Saturday.

Twenty soldiers would be deployed in Gabi to support the Cordova police force in securing the special elections.

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TAGS: antique, Cebu, Elections 2016, Northern Samar, Samar, Special elections, Visayas
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