MANILA, Philippines – (2nd UPDATE) With the official campaign period over, candidates get one day of rest on Sunday, May 8 – a day before judgment day. On the ground, however, political operatives continue to mobilize voters and spread propaganda.
Election-related violent incidents have been reported in some parts of the country.
Three died while 5 others were reported hurt in separate ambush incidents in Jones, Isabela and in Gattaran, Cagayan.
A still unidentified armed group fired the Isuzu Crosswind carrying supporters of Liberal Party mayoral bet Melanie Uy in the village of Namnama around 8:30 am, Police Chief Inspector Chevalier Iringan of the Philippine National Police (PNP) – Cagayan Valley told Rappler.
Iringan identified the victims as Senior Police Officer 4 Arthur Anunciacion, 54; Roderick Eugenio, 51, and Lydia Zapata, 52.
Hurt were the Anunciacion’s wife and 12-year-old daughter, Rhoda and Reignzel, Julius Julian, 27, and driver Samuel Bulusan, 39.
Meanwhile, in Cagayan, Roban Elizaga, an aspiring councilor, and his entourage was stormed with gunshots during a drinking session in the village of Naddungan in Gattaran, Cagayan.
No deaths were recorded but 2 were reported hurt.
Elizaga is running for councilor under “Team Pagbabago”, a group running against the town’s ruling party.
Supporters of incumbent Hinoba-an, Negros Occidental Vice Mayor Mary Jane Cubid were on the receiving end of a shooting incident on May 7. Cubid is currently running against the incumbent mayor, Ernesto Estrao.
Joeny Gayagaya and Robert Nicor were wounded after an unidentified person armed with an alleged baby armalite opened fire in Brgy Culipapa, Hinoba-an at around 9pm on Saturday.
According to Police Senior Inspector Roberto Indiape, Jr, Gayagaya was hit on his left arm while Nicor was wounded on his left arm and the left part of his stomach. Police investigation said Sunday that there were no empty rounds recovered from the scene.
In Kalinga, congressional bet Camilo Lammawin Jr was torched in Tabuk City at around 2:30 am.
A Hino minibus owned by Samuel Banasan, barangay captain of Bulanao Norte, was parked at Balinag St when a group of still unidentified men torched it.
The fire was extinguished 30 minutes later. Police found a green plastic bottle which contained gasoline near the bus.
Lammawin is running under the NUP. His opponents are Vice Gov Allen Jesse Mangaoang (LP) and Carlos Duyan.
Vote buying in Tacloban?
In Tacloban City, local candidates are accused of vote buying. Some voters in the city alleged that P20 to P500 were offered for councilors, but the candidates denied the reports.
“I do not think that vote buying is effective. I believe voters will not vote according to money but through their conscience,” lawyer Jerry Uy, a reelectionist councilor told Rappler. Aimee Grafil, who is running for councilor , also denied the claims. Other local candidates Fiel Clemencio and Raisa Villasin said they could not possibly buy votes given their limited resources.
In 2013, similar allegations were made against incumbent mayor Alfred Romualdez after a stampede occurred during the distribution of money in a beach house in San Jose, Tacloban City.
QR codes in Pangasinan
Meanwhile, 5th District Rep Mark Cojuangco and incumbent Calasiao Mayor Mark Macanlalay both face online outrage over reports of massive vote buying. The tandem is running as governor and vice governor of Pangasinan, respectively.
According to reports, campaign managers of Cojuangco and Macanlalay have been distributing identification cards with a Quick Response Code. The cards allegedly come with bills ranging from P100 to P500.
In his recent statement to Rappler, Macanlalay, denied the allegations regarding the massive vote buying.
“Yes, may mga allegations na nagvovote buying daw kami, we don’t need to do that sa Calasiao. Bahala na ang taong bayan kung ihahalal kami,” Macanlalay said. (Yes, there are allegations that we are buying votes. We don’t need to do that in Calasiao. The people will decide if they will vote for us.)