Comelec eyes May 24 Lanao del Sur town special polls

Robertzon Ramirez - The Philippine Star

MANILA, Philippines — The Commission on Elections (Comelec) is planning to hold special elections in Tubaran, Lanao del Sur on May 24.

Comelec acting spokesman Rex Laudiangco said the date is only a projection of the poll body “for planning purposes.”

“Right now, the situation there is contained. Violence has been quelled and controlled and all preparations are being done to pursue the special elections,” he told a press briefing at the Philippine International Convention Center, where the canvassing of votes is being held.

Laudiangco said the poll body would no longer print official ballots for the special elections in Tubaran as these are intact along with the vote counting machines (VCMs) and other election paraphernalia.

The Comelec declared failure of elections in 14 barangays in Butig, Binadayen and Tubaran in Lanao del Sur upon the recommendation of its regional director for the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao.

Ballot snatching and violence resulting in damage to VCMs and official ballots were among the reasons cited.

Military and police personnel have been deployed in the affected barangays.

Around 8,295 registered voters were affected by the failure of elections in the 14 barangays.

Laudiangco said the special elections would no longer affect the proclamation of national candidates.

Meanwhile, he said the Comelec is studying how to conduct special elections in COVID-hit Shanghai, where around 1,991 registered voters were affected due to the lockdown.

Laudiangco said the transmission of the results of overseas voting has yet to be completed due to the failure of elections in Shanghai.

As this developed, the  Department of National Defense lauded the Joint Task Force-Storm of the 8th Infantry Division for ensuring the safe conduct of elections in Eastern Visayas amid threats posed by communist insurgents.

“The performance (of the 8th Infantry Division) is very good, jointly with the AFP forces, the police and Coast Guard. We are united,” Lorenzana said. ”The Commission on Elections was very happy and its commissioner even texted us for the good result.” – Ralph Edwin Villanueva

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