Elections in 2 cities ‘peaceful’

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Tuesday, October 26, 2010


EXCEPT for the confusion created by the shortage of ballots in three barangays and the alleged mauling incidents in Opao, yesterday’s elections in Mandaue City were “generally peaceful,” according to the Commission on Elections (Comelec) and the Mandaue City Police Office (MCPO).

In Talisay City, the elections were marred by a power outage, intermittent rain, altercations among poll watchers and allegations of vote-buying, vote-selling and herding of young voters. Otherwise, the situation was also generally peaceful.

Although there was no failure of elections in Mandaue City, some ballots for Barangays Umapad, Subangdaku and Paknaan arrived late because these were sent to Bacolod City in Negros Occidental, said election officer Anna Fleur Gujilde.

Of the city’s 27 barangays, Gujilde said they only encountered serious shortages in these three barangays, which have a big number of voters.

She said these are Umapad with 9,086 registered voters; Subangdaku, with 10,680 voters; and Paknaan, 10,965 voters.

Emergency ballots

To make up for the shortage, Gujilde said they made emergency ballots, or reproduced official ballots, and distributed these to the four precincts affected.

There were shortages in other barangays, but these were a matter of 10 to 50 ballots, so they just borrowed ballots from other precincts within the barangay, she said.

And although the ballots from Bacolod arrived very late, Gujilde said they were able to make copies before the voting began. She said the late ballots were used later in the day.

MCPO Acting Director Noel Gillamac, for his part, said election day was generally peaceful, marred only by the alleged mauling in Barangay Opao and several harassment incidents.

He said the mauling complaint in Opao will be treated as a formal complaint, once the victims press charges.

He said there were separate allegations of harassment in Barangays Casili and Subangdaku, but the victims refused to talk to police.

Mandaue City has 176,464 registered voters distributed in 487 precincts.

In Talisay City, Police Chief Supt. Henry Biñas deployed uniformed policemen to guard polling precincts, while visiting voting centers with strong political rivalries among candidates.

These included Barangays Tanke, Cansojong, Poblacion, Lawaan 1, Lawaan 3, Linao and the mountain villages of Tapul and Maghaway.

No violence

“It’s relatively peaceful,” said Biñas, after completing his rounds past 8 p.m.
There were no reports of violence since the precincts opened at 7 a.m.

Majority of the precincts closed at 3 p.m., amid a Comelec directive extending the voting to 5 p.m.

Voting went on despite a one-hour power interruption in Barangay San Roque past 8 a.m.

Voters had to rely on natural light, filtering through the classroom window while filling up official ballots.

The City Comelec could not yet determine the voters’ turnout, as not a single poll precinct had completed the counting of votes as of 8 last night.

Protests against the counting of votes of candidates with the same family name sparked altercations in some precincts at the Cansojong National High School.

Authorities also received reports of massive vote-buying and herding of SK voters to a resort on the eve of election day.

Housing of SK voters in one place one or two days prior to elections is a long-time
strategy to seal the victory of an SK chairman candidate.

In one barangay, some young voters were reportedly closely watched and escorted to the precincts to ensure they would not cast their votes for other SK aspirants.

Biñas said he received reports of kidnapping of youths, but there were no complaints.

Published in the Sun.Star Cebu newspaper on October 26, 2010.

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