The Commission on Elections (Comelec) announced Monday, May 9, that it has launched an investigation into the reported violent incidents and inconsistencies that surfaced in social media and were being linked to the 2022 national and local elections.

Comelec Commissioner George Erwin Garcia speaks at a preas briefing of the Comelec en banc at the PICC in Pasay City on May 9, 2022. (Photo by Jel Santos / MANILA BULLETIN)

Comelec Commissioner George Erwin Garcia assured the public that the poll body remains “in full control” of the elections despite the unwanted incidents that were reported in various parts of the country.

“We would like to assure everybody that the Comelec is in full control of what’s happening right now,” Garcia said in a press briefing of the Comelec en banc at the Philippine International Convention Center (PICC) in Pasay City.

But the situation on the ground provided a glimpse of the historically proven violence that is connected to the Philippine elections.

Ilocos Sur

In IIocos Sur, a police report circulating on social media showed that a voter in Narvacan town reported to authorities about his voting experience when he tried to vote for presidential candidate Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr. but his receipt allegedly showed Vice President Leni Robredo getting the vote.

The provincial police allegedly identified the complainant as Raymar Camacho, 50, a resident of Brgy. Quinarayan.

But Garcia dismissed the incident as “fake news” since he argued that the local Comelec office could not present an official report to the Comelec en banc.

“Hanggang sa kasalukuyan po ay wala naman siyang maipakitang ebidensya. At ang nakakapagtaka, bakit bukod tangi sa lahat ng bumoto sa Narvacan, nag-iisa lang siya na hindi tumutugma ang kanyang resibo? (Up until now, he could not present an evidence. What’s more puzzling is that why is he the only voter in Narvacan who encountered an inconsistent receipt?” Garcia said.

The commissioner urged the public not to believe the reported incident which he described as “unfair” and “an insult to the hardworking men and women” of the electoral board in Narvacan.

“Madaling sabihin, eh wala namang ebidensya kaming nakita at wala rin pong report. Kung saka-sakali, dapat po ay nailagay na iyon sa minutes ng bawat presinto po doon (It’s easy to make allegations but they could not present an evidence and report to us. If ever it’s true, it should have been included in the minutes of every precinct there),” Garcia said.

“Hanggang ngayon po wala, nareport lang sa pulis pagkatapos hanggang doon lang. Kumalat na agad sa social media (Until now, we don’t have [the report], it was only reported to the police and that was it. It quickly spread on social media),” he added.

Maguindanao

In Maguindanao, local police and military reported that three members of the Barangay Peacekeeping Action Team (BPAT) were killed while another one was injured in a shooting incident that occurred near a polling precinct in Buluan town around 8 a.m.

“Iyan po ay may hot pursuit operation po ang AFP at PNP. Tinitignan po ang anggulo kung ito ay talagang election-related (The Armed Forces of the Philippines and Philippine National Police conducted a hot pursuit operation. They were investigating whether it was really an election-related incident),” Garcia said.

Initial report from the 16th Civil Military Intelligence Company said two white vans strafed the victims while they were manning their post and securing the conduct of the elections at the Pilot Elementary School.

Slain were Misuary Dimapalao, Sajid Kamama, and Tata Bulilo while a colleague, Jadid Ulangkaya, sustained injuries. The victims were reportedly members of mayoral aspirant Babydats Mangudadatu of Buluan, Maguindanao.

Nueva Ecija

In Nueva Ecija, police reported that at least 24 individuals were arrested when members of security personnel of rival mayoral candidates allegedly exchanged gunfires in General Tinio town last Saturday.

The suspects were allegedly part of the security teams of General Tinio town reelectonist Mayor Isidro Pajharillaga and his rival former Mayor Virgilio Bote. Acache of firearms were confiscated from the two camps including five M16 rifles, 15 pistols, and a shotgun.

“May follow up operation ang PNP dyan (The PNP has conducted a follow up operation),” Garcia said.

Basilan

In Basilan, security officers monitored strafing incidents in at least two barangays in Sumisip town.

A heavy firing was also reported in the island barangay of Bulo-bulo in Tabuan Lasa town.

Garcia said members of electoral board were fired upon by unidentified gunmen while they were delivering election paraphernalia.

“Hindi po natinag ang mga tao natin, natuloy pa rin po (Our personnel did not waiver and the [delivery] pushed through),” the Comelec commissioner said.

Lanao del Sur

The Comelec has yet to receive a report about the alleged intrusion of local goons in Barangay Magonaya in Binidayan, Lanao del Sur around 9 a.m. Monday.

A clip of the incident has since gone viral on social media where unidentified men were seen tearing ballots and wreaking havoc inside a polling precinct. The authenticity of the video is yet to be validated.


Source: Manila Bulletin (https://mb.com.ph/2022/05/09/comelec-probes-poll-related-violence-inconsistencies-flooding-socmed/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=comelec-probes-poll-related-violence-inconsistencies-flooding-socmed)