Police, military say barangay election was peaceful despite rumors of armed men-A A +A
Tuesday, October 29, 2013
DESPITE the seizure of 59 firearms, a shooting and rumors of armed men, the police and the military considered the conduct of the barangay elections in Central Visayas yesterday “generally peaceful.”
Police Regional Office (PRO) 7 Director Danilo Constantino said reports of harassment, ballot-snatching and burglary of a polling area “failed to disrupt” the elections.
The military did not encounter any serious security threat, except for reports of sightings of armed men, which turned out to be false.
“There are just people who make stories to disturb the elections,” said Commander Anchises Diola, leader of the Task Group Cebu of Central Command (Centcom).
Cebu City Police Office Director Noli Romana declared there were no major election-related incidents. "It's generally peaceful,” he said.
In the cities of Lapu-Lapu and Mandaue, the conduct of the barangay elections also went without a hitch.
Mandaue Police Station Chief Petronelli Baldebrin said, though, he increased the number of police personnel at polling precincts when the canvassing of votes began around 3 p.m.
As of 6 p.m. yesterday, the PRO 7 arrested 79 gun ban violators. Of the number, 38 are from Cebu Province. The police also confiscated 59 firearms, 25 bladed weapons and 278 ammunitions.
Since the eve of the election, about 17 people were apprehended for violating the liquor ban. Seven of them are from Lapu-Lapu City, five from Cebu City, three from Cebu Province and two from Mandaue City.
In Barangay Owacan in Himalalud, Negros Oriental, PO1 Virgilio Berang-berang shot and injured Ryan Sarabia, who allegedly chased the policeman and his partner with a knife.
Constantino said Berang-berang and PO1 Rodolfo Absin were responding to a call that a group of men were having a fistfight at a polling precinct in Ocawan.
When the policemen arrived, Sarabia, who was armed with a knife, ran toward them.
Berang-berang fired his M16 rifle to neutralize Sarabia.
Two poll-related incidents were reported in Siquijor Province:
*In Barangay Canghunoghunog last Sunday night, village chief Benigno Macatumbas allegedly tried to run over Joseph Al-os with a motorcycle.
*In Barangay Tigbawan, Lazi, Al Anthony Aljas, a candidate for village chief, suffered an injury in his left eye when former governor Orlando Fua Jr. allegedly threw a bottle at him at 9:30 a.m. yesterday. The former governor had left the area when the police arrived.
In Barangay Poblacion in Danao City, Cebu, Eduardito Durano, who is running for barangay captain and a supporter of former Danao City mayor Jesus “Don” Durano, was accused of pointing a gun at his rival Thomas Ross Batucan, a reelectionist.
PO3 Marlon Remollo of Danao City Police Station said the incident happened at 8:05 a.m. outside the Danao City Central School.
Remollo told Sun.Star Cebu in a phone interview that witnesses said Eduardito did not point a gun at Batucan.
In the mountain barangay of Amancion in the northern Cebu town of Catmon, the election started around 1 p.m. after the military arrived to assure the board of election tellers, who were frightened of talks that there were armed men in the area.
Also in Catmon, the police will investigate a member of the town police who allegedly declared a failure of election in one barangay.
“She (police officer) will undergo a pre-charge evaluation. The police is not authorized to make such declarations,” Constantino said.
Two classrooms were burglarized in Mangadlaw Elementary School in Barangay Cabalawan, Sogod, Cebu yesterday dawn. SPO2 Ken Soreño of the Sogod Police Station said they still have to determine if anything was stolen but there were no election paraphernalia in the rooms when the burglary took place.
In Barangay Hipodromo, Cebu City, rumors that a group of men opened fire at the public elementary school last night sent teachers running outside for safety.
Mabolo Police Chief Ryan Devaras said the counting of votes was disrupted.
The police were not able to trace the person who started the rumor.
Devaras said they received the report past 8 p.m. He said no one was hurt and the counting of votes resumed.
In Barangay San Roque, the camp of Nicepuro Iroy accused Lidiore "Boy" Miranda of having armed bodyguards. Miranda, in a text message, denied the allegation.
In the City of Naga in southern Cebu, Supt. Eduardo Saavedra, the police chief, pulled out some policemen who were in full battle gear and armed with M16 rifles from the Naga Central School.
The presence of the policemen reportedly caused a tension among voters, said city information officer Gary Cabotaje.
In Mandaue City, Barangay Casili tanod Jonathan Mapula, 47, was arrested around 1 a.m. for allegedly carrying a .45 pistol with seven live bullets.
He was detained at the Casuntingan Police Station, and will be charged with illegal possession of a firearm and violation of the election gun ban.
In Barangay Marigondon, Lapu-Lapu City, three construction workers were arrested hours before the start of the election for violating the liquor ban.
Around 7 p.m. four armed men were also arrested by police in Marigondon. As of press time, the police at the Marigondon Police Station were still getting the men's identities.
Around 4 p.m., a scuffle occurred between supporters of rival camps in Mactan Elementary School in Lapu-Lapu City but they were quickly pacified by the police officers assigned in the area.
In Cordova, some voters in Barangay Catarman complained that supporters of the rival camp tried to prevent them from entering their school. But Election Officer Arvin Maghanoy said police personnel were sent to the area and quickly addressed the problem.
In Consolacion, the Comelec received reports about vote-buying but no formal complaints were filed, said election assistant Abrahim Yap.
Common problems like missing names were encountered yesterday by the voters.
To address such concerns, help desks were set up in voting centers like the Mandaue City Central School.
Some persons with disabilities and senior citizens also complained that they had to vote in inaccessible precincts.
Dr. Roberto Palermo, 73, had to be lifted by two volunteers of the Philippine Red Cross to the assigned precinct for senior citizens at the Mandaue City Central School yesterday afternoon.
The precinct was located in an interior part of the school.
Palermo, a retired medical officer of the PNP who suffered a stroke last year, said he always participates in elections.
“We have to exercise our right to vote. Sometimes you have to make a sacrifice,” he told Sun.Star Cebu.
Palermo, a voter of Barangay Alang-Alang, was accompanied by his wife and an assistant. He used a rail hand support to walk.
Published in the Sun.Star Cebu newspaper on October 29, 2013.