At least 22 people have been killed and 27 others wounded in reported election-related violence all over the Philippines as barangay elections come to a close according to Senior Superintendent Reuben Sindac, spokesman for the Philippine National Police (PNP).
Incidences of violation of special rules implemented during the election season were also reported, consisting of at least 588 counts of gun ban violation. The said violations resulted to almost 500 confiscated firearms, 4000 rounds of ammunition, 191 knives, and 68 hand grenades.
“Our elections in the past have always been marred by untoward incidents,” military spokesman Lt. Col. Ramon Zagala said.
In Southern Cotabato, a barangay chairman candidate’s son together with 16 supporters were arrested for allegedly threatening a rival candidate. Firearms were also taken from the arrested sympathizers.
Sunday night in Palanas, Masbate, unidentified men fired shots at a police car with an elections officer and policemen on board. The incidence started a shootout, eventually wounding the elections officer, two policemen, and a bystander.
On election day, a kagawad (councilor) candidate in Davao City called foul play when she found out that naked pictures of her were being given away just outside the voting precincts in their area. The candidate said that those photos were taken while she was having intercourse with a man. She suspects that her sexual partner and a rival candidate must be behind the smear campaign.
The reported incidences increased significantly from 2010’s fifteen election-related deaths and PNP has no plans of tolerating the escalating violence in barangay elections, almost as horrid as incidences during high-staked national elections.
Almost 820,000 candidates are hoping to get elected to just around 300,000 positions in 42,000 barangays all over the country.
With report from Jim Gomez, Associated Press