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Ballot delays, commotions mar BSKE in Lanao Sur

NDBC BANTAY HALALAN 2023 • 07:00 AM Tue Oct 31, 2023
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By: 
Nef Luczon/PNA
LANAO SUR BSKE. The police’s special force serves as the Election Board in a clustered precinct at the Sultan Pandapatan Central Elementary School In Bayang, Lanao del Sur during the Barangay and Sangguniang Kabataan Elections on Monday (Oct. 30, 2023).

MARAWI CITY – A collision of political supporters and voting delays in precincts marred the Barangay and Sangguniang Kabataan Elections (BSKE) in this province and some parts of Northern Mindanao.

Most of the clustered precincts in 1,161 barangays in the province opened midday, with some in the afternoon, to the chagrin of voters who waited as early as 3 a.m. expecting that voting would start at 7:30 a.m. based on Commission on Elections (Comelec) guidelines.

In the municipality of Tamparan, some residents argued with peacekeeping forces and local election board members as they guarded the entrance to the Lumbia Masiu Central Elementary School, where four barangay precincts were placed.

In the municipality of Butig, the victim of a shooting incident at the Bayabao Central Elementary School early morning on Monday died, according to a report by the Butig Municipal Police Station.

The victim, Madid Bao, was the husband of the incumbent barangay chairperson of Poktan Unaifa Lao.

Lt. Col. Viczar Villanueva, commander of the Army's 51st Infantry Battalion, said voting in the clustered precinct where the shooting occurred was extended until evening.

In Bayang, Lanao del Sur, the police’s special force served as the Election Board in the clustered precinct at the Sultan Pandapatan Central Elementary School.

The casting of votes was also delayed due to disputes between supporters of candidates in Barangay Tagoranao.

In its monitoring report, the non-government organization Climate and Conflict Action Asia (CCAA) said it recorded commotions inside several polling precincts in this city due to tensions between the supporters of rival candidates.

The CCAA also noted that a video circulating online shows gunshots being fired in Barangay Balintao, Maguing, which caused fear and panic among voters.

Its report on the incident said one was injured.

Relatively peaceful

Still, provincial election supervisor Udtog Tago said the election in most of the barangays in the province was relatively peaceful.

Tago noted that some villages have unopposed candidates, such as in the municipality of Lumbatan, where only nine out of its 21 barangays have opposing candidates for barangay chairpersons.

Northern Mindanao

In the province of Lanao del Norte, a shooting incident was recorded in the municipality of Bacolod, and a commotion from political supporters in the municipality of Nunungan was caught on video.

The Police Regional Office (PRO) 10 (Northern Mindanao) said a "swift and coordinated effort" by law enforcement authorities successfully recovered a loose firearm through a pursuit operation in Barangay Punod, Bacolod town.

PRO-10 acting Director, Brig. Gen. Ricardo Layug Jr., praised the "dedication and teamwork" exhibited by police personnel.

Meanwhile, the Malitbog Municipal Police Station in Bukidnon apprehended a suspect for an alleged "Kontra Bigay" violation, as stipulated under Section 25 of Comelec Resolution 10946.

The section outlines the prohibition against the possession or delivery of coins, notes, money, cards, pay envelopes, bags, groceries, tokens, or anything of value, together with sample ballots or other campaign materials in favor of or against a candidate.
 
The suspect was caught at a checkpoint with assorted bundles of money, each clipped with papers bearing the printed name of a village council candidate, amounting to PHP43,250.

Layug said the apprehension shows the police’s commitment to ensuring the integrity of the electoral process.

“The enforcement of 'Kontra Bigay' is crucial in upholding the principles of fair and honest elections," he said.

Moreover, the local chapter of the National Citizens' Movement for Free Election noted incidents of alleged vote buying in Cagayan de Oro City. (PNA)

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