Ambush, explosions mark end to ‘peaceful’ campaign

Alexis Romero - The Philippine Star

MANILA, Philippines - A series of ambuscades, explosions and shooting incidents marked the end of the campaign period, which the Philippine National Police (PNP) said was more peaceful than in previous years.

PNP spokesman Chief Superintendent Generoso Cerbo Jr. said the number of poll-related violent incidents this year was lower than in the 2010 and 2007 elections.

“There were heated discussions between contending candidates. Some people got hurt but by and large, if we are to look at poll-related incidents, the 2013 campaign period was more peaceful,” Cerbo said.

He attributed the lower number of violent incidents to early security preparations by the PNP.

In South Upi, Maguindanao, a nephew of a mayoralty candidate was killed after their convoy was ambushed by unidentified gunmen on Saturday.

Authorities identified the fatality as Kiang Nasser, nephew of Vice Mayor Datu Omar Baba, who is running for town mayor.

The incident also left a certain Turno Omar wounded.

In Sultan Kudarat, also in Maguindanao, two school officials were hurt yesterday in a shooting incident that occurred at the boundary of barangays Ramcor and Bagundang.

Regional military spokesman Col. Dickson Hermoso said the victims were riding a motorcycle on their way to Ramcor when they were fired at by two unidentified gunmen at 11 a.m.

Meanwhile, three people were wounded after unidentified gunmen strafed the convoy of a vice mayoralty bet in Banisilan, Cotabato also on Saturday.

The wounded were identified as Sim Maege, Edwin Saraspe and Jelgam Cordero, supporters of independent vice mayoralty candidate Floro Allado, who was unharmed.

In Northern Samar, a former councilor was wounded after he was shot by unidentified gunmen in Barangay Libho in Catarman town.

The victim, identified as Arturo Gallano, was immediately brought to Northern Samar Provincial Hospital for treatment.

Up north, unidentified gunmen on a Mitsubishi L300 van opened fire at a certain Bobby Galzote in Pasuquin, Ilocos Norte, but who managed to survive the attack.

Two unidentified men hurled an explosive at the house of a barangay official in Inopacan, Leyte late Saturday. No one was hurt in the incident, police said.

In Iloilo, an explosion rocked the compound of the National Grid Corp., also late Saturday, slightly damaging a steel post of an electrical power line.

Policeman guarding PCOS killed

 Four unidentified gunmen shot down one of the policemen securing precinct counting optical scan (PCOS) machines at a polling center in a remote village in Borongan City on Saturday.

Police identified the slain police officer as POI Agerico Afable who was on duty at the Calingatngan Elementary School in that barangay.

Afable was among the policemen guarding the PCOS machines at the school when four men suddenly came and attacked him.

A barangay watchman identified as Glicerio Serma was also hit and listed in critical condition at the Eastern Samar Provincial Hospital.

Police said the PCOS machines were left untouched by the gunmen who immediately fled after sensing the arrival of responding policemen and military troops.

PNP spokesman Cerbo said the number of poll-related violent incidents reached 72 as of Saturday, still lower than 176 incidents posted in 2010 and 229 recorded in 2007.

Of the 72 incidents, 59 involved shooting while the rest were explosion, ambush, grenade throwing, strafing and harassment.

A total of 126 persons were victimized by these incidents, 46 of them killed, 50 wounded and 30  unharmed.

The campaign period started last Feb. 12 and ended midnight of May 11.

Meanwhile, many people were arrested for violating the liquor ban that took effect yesterday.

At least 136 persons were not able to resist the urge to drink alcohol despite the liquor ban.

A majority of the liquor ban violators, 116 of them, were from Davao. Seven were from Pasig City while six each were apprehended in Navotas and Quezon City.

The list, however, is not exhaustive as PNP is still consolidating reports from other areas as of press time.

The PNP expressed disappointment that some residents still violated the liquor ban despite constant reminder from authorities.

“We can say that the figure is negligible compared to the 50 million voters but we are disappointed that there are violators,” Cerbo said.

PNP also reported that as of yesterday morning, 3,161 persons have been apprehended for violating the gun ban.

A majority or 2,912 of them are civilians.

Also arrested were 135 security guards, 44 policemen, 20 soldiers, 41 government employees, one member of a law enforcement agency, four government militias, one fireman and three jail personnel.

CCW volunteers

The Citizens Crime Watch (CCW) has mobilized its 1.3-million strong member volunteers to monitor and report to the Commission on Elections and the Philippine National Police incidents of election-related violence around the country.

During a mass oath-taking of some 2,800 members yesterday at the Teodoro Valencia Circle in Rizal Park, Manila, CCW chairman Jose Malvar Villegas Jr. said his group, in coordination with the One Vote Movement, would help in the campaign for peaceful elections.

Villegas warned that “any chaos that might occur in this year’s midterm polls would destroy the credibility of the country’s automated system, and all help is needed to maintain orderly elections.”

“We want the automated elections system to succeed, and we call on the people to exercise their right to vote. The elections would not only further strengthen the country’s democratic institution but also test the credibility of the automated poll process,” he said.

“Chaos might be used by enemies of the state to destabilize the government, which is now succeeding in its goal to hold clean and honest polls,” Villegas said.

-Ricky Bautista, Raymund Catindig, Teddy Molina, Ben Serrano, Charlie Lagasca, John Unson


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