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Lanao del Sur special polls: Soldiers, cops deployed

Evelyn Macairan - The Philippine Star

MANILA, Philippines — Military and police personnel have been deployed in 14 barangays in Lanao del Sur, where special elections will be conducted.

“Our security forces are there… I even joked that if needed, there would be a policeman or soldier in every corner (in these barangays) so that our kababayans will have the courage to go out and vote,” Commission on Elections (Comelec) acting spokesman John Rex Laudiangco told a press briefing yesterday.

He said Comelec field officials were also dispatched in the areas.

Laudiangco said special elections are tentatively set on May 15, but may be rescheduled to a later date depending on the situation in the areas.

The Comelec declared failure of elections in Barangays Ragayan in Butig, Pindolonan in Binidayan and Tangcal, Datumanong, Guiarong, Baguiangun, Wago, Malaganding, Gadongan, Riantaran, Pagalamatan, Mindamunag, Paigoday-Pimbataan and Metadicop in Tubaran.

The poll body cited reports of violence, threats and intimidation in the areas during election day.

The National Printing Office said 1,374 official ballots would be printed to replace the 798 that were stolen from four precincts in Barangay Ragayan and 576 that were damaged in Barangay Pindolonan.

Officials said there is no need to reprint the ballots in the affected barangays in Tubaran as these remain intact.

“We are complying with Sections 6 and 7 of the Omnibus Election Code on the setting of special elections upon confirmation that the cause of fear and threat and violence have ceased,” he said.

Aside from printing and verification of the ballots, the Comelec has to prepare vote counting machines, SD cards and other devices to be used for the automated elections.

The poll body designated Philippine National Police personnel to act as election board of inspectors.

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