Comelec, police: Polls in Cebu, CV ‘generally peaceful’

ELECTION and police officials described the national and local polls in Central Visayas as generally peaceful, citing no major election-related incidents that happened on Monday, May 9, 2022.

This declaration came on the heels of a strafing incident in San Fernando town, southern Cebu past midnight Monday, shooting of a tanod (village watchman) in Barangay Zapatera, Cebu City Monday night, and killing of a village official in Barangay Tungasan, Olango Island, Lapu-Lapu City Sunday night, May 8.

Acting Cebu provincial elections supervisor Jerome Brillantes said there were no untoward political incidents reported from the seven areas of concern, namely San Fernando, Madridejos, Daanbantayan, Bogo City, and the towns of Poro, Tudela and San Francisco in the Camotes Islands.

Police Regional Office-Central Visayas (PRO 7) deputy chief for operation Col. Noel Flores also said Monday night that they had not recorded any election-related violent incidents in the region.

The murder of Tungasan Barangay Councilor Jose “Sadam” Quiros, initial investigation showed, was not election-related and one of the assailants had been identified, according to Lt. Col. Leoncio Baliguat Jr., deputy chief of the Regional Investigation and Detective Management Division of the PRO 7.

Olango Police investigator Erwin Suson has looked into Quiros’ reported relationship with a woman.

Quiros’ killing drew condemnation from Lapu-Lapu City Mayor Junard “Ahong” Chan and Lapu-Lapu City Rep. Paz Radaza, both of whom called on the police to immediately solve the incident that happened past 8 p.m. Sunday.

Radaza has offered a P300,000 reward to any person who can provide information that will lead to the culprit’s arrest.

Quiros was identified as a supporter of Radaza, who is vying for the city’s mayorship against Chan.

Initial reports said there were two assailants, and Quiros was talking to another person in front of a food park in the barangay before the shooting Sunday night.

Quiros succumbed to four gunshot wounds, police said.

At 6:42 p.m. Monday, Brian Mabaga, a tanod of Barangay Lorega-San Miguel, was shot by three men in front of Zapatera Elementary School in Cebu City.

Cebu City Police deputy chief for operation Lt. Col. Ryan Devaras told reporters that Mabaga was conscious when he was rushed to hospital for treatment.

Police are still facing a blank wall on the strafing incident in San Fernando past midnight Monday. No one was reported hurt.

San Fernando police chief Maj. Efren de la Cruz Diaz said they could not say yet whether the incident was election-related and they had not identified any person involved yet.

Initial investigation revealed that three SUVs arrived in the area minutes before the strafing incident. Residents said they heard gunshots and saw some men onboard the three vehicles scampering to safety.

Diaz said when they arrived in Sitio Baysa, only two vehicles -- Nissan Navara with plate number GCS 1894 and a black Toyota Fortuner with plate number 3493 -- were left in the area.

The Fortuner was peppered with bullets.

As of Monday morning, May 9, no one had claimed ownership yet of the vehicles, which were placed under the custody of police.

In the 2019 elections, San Fernando was identified by the Commission on Elections as an election hotspot following a series of killings involving local officials, among them the husband of incumbent and reelectionist Mayor Lakambini “Neneth” Reluya. Reluya survived an ambush, which happened in January 2019 in Talisay City, Cebu, but her husband, Ricardo, and two aides died in the incident.

The Comelec this year identified San Fernando as one of the seven areas in Cebu that had been considered areas of concern due to political rivalry, history of election-related violence, and geographical location. (AYB, MKG, BBT, REV, EHP, LMY)


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