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Flying voters challenged in Pasay

Incumbent Malabon barangay chair tagged by PDEA as narcopolitician leading in initial poll results

FUTURE VOTER With her son intently observing her actions,
a woman casts her vote in Monday’s barangay and Sangguniang Kabataan elections at Gabriela Silang Elementary School in Zabarte, Caloocan City. —EDWIN BACASMAS

A public school in Pasay City was thrust into the spotlight during Monday’s Barangay and Sangguniang Kabataan elections, drawing heavy security, intense media scrutiny and scores of election lawyers.

Earlier, Barangay 97—one of the 30 areas which used Padre Zamora Elementary School as a polling precinct—was declared an election watch-list area due to the presence of 1,458 suspected flying voters, the largest group to ever be identified in a single area.

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Positioned at the school gates were eight Navy personnel, in addition to six Pasay City policemen and five others from other police districts, according to team leader SPO4 Jose Calamba.

As the polls drew to a close, no incidents of election-related violence were recorded. But the pending criminal complaint filed by Yok Tin So, a candidate for Barangay 97’s top post, against the suspected flying voters caused small pockets of commotion to break out.

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Throughout the day, several voters were challenged by So’s poll watchers who were holding a list of the names of the alleged flying voters. Lawyers for both So and the incumbent Barangay 97 chair, Serafico Ang, were also stationed outside the polling precincts.

The poll watchers, who were armed with photos of the houses in Barangay 97, peppered voters with questions such as “What is your address?” and “What’s the color of your gate?”

Wrong answer, no vote Barangay 97 councilor Edith “Wowee” Manguerra, a So supporter, said that several voters who gave the wrong answers were turned away.

She added that others were scared off by a resident of Barangay 120 whom she had asked for help. Based on the complaint filed by So’s camp, most of the flying voters were from Barangay 120.

“‘Why are you here? You’re my neighbor!’ he told some of them,” Manguerra said, adding: “There were some who left.”

Other voters, when confronted by teachers at the precinct, admitted straightaway that they were not Barangay 97 residents, according to head poll watcher Jazz del Rosario.

“We reduced [the flying voters] substantially,” said Ace Bautista, one of So’s lawyers.

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But according to Richard Joseph Doria, a lawyer for Ang, the tactics that So’s group used were actually “disenfranchising” voters.

“They failed to file exclusion proceedings,” said Doria, referring to the process that could result in the removal of some people’s names from the list of registered voters.

Vote-blockers

“Their poll watchers are not poll watchers, but vote-blockers,” he added.

One of the classrooms that served as a polling precinct for Barangay 97 residents had to temporarily halt operations in the afternoon after representatives of both So and Ang argued over whether alleged flying
voters should be able to cast their ballots.

In Taguig City, voting briefly stopped at Maharlika Elementary School-Annex after a group of men beat up a poll watcher.

Policemen and soldiers broke up the fight and escorted Ybrahim Ismael out of the polling precinct.

Ismael, whom incumbent Barangay Maharlika Chair Baisittee Pangandaman, identified as one of her watchers, was taken to a hospital with his wife, Rajah Bai, who was also hurt.

The police later arrested two of the men who reportedly beat up Ismael. Rusty Dumaraya and Khalid Macalin, who were identified by some witnesses, were allegedly from the camp of Harry Pautin, Pangandaman’s nephew and rival for the barangay’s top post.

Pangandaman claimed that the two were employees of the Taguig Public Order and Safety Office headed by Pautin’s
father, Kim.

She said she would file charges against the suspects who were detained at the Taguig police station.

In Barangay Tinajeros, Malabon City, the incumbent chair tagged as a narcopolitician by the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA) appeared to be on his way to another term.

Initial poll results showed Alvin Mañalac leading his two opponents. Watchers, however, said it was too early to tell and the winner would likely be proclaimed around midnight.

2 Malabon chairs on ‘narcolist’

Together with fellow Malabonian, Barangay Hulong Duhat Chair Anthony Velasquez, Mañalac was one of the nine barangay chairs in Metro Manila named in the so-called “narcolist” for allegedly being involved in drug activities.

He was the first of 207 local leaders charged with criminal and administrative complaints by the PDEA in the Office of the Ombudsman.

The complaint stemmed from a raid conducted by the PDEA on a shabu/ecstasy lab in his barangay on April.

Mañalac was accused of failing to identify the personalities involved on his watch list and to declare his barangay “drug-free.” —With reports from Dexter Cabalza, Krixia Subingsubing, Aie Balagtas See, Jhesset O. Enano and Jodee A. Agoncillo

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TAGS: barangay elections 2018, Pasay flying voters, SK elections 2018
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