MANILA, Philippines – With only a few days left before the midterm polls, some political campaigns are resorting to different tricks – some dirty and some clean – to vie for votes. Unfortunately, the use of violence and intimidation is a common practice, especially in tight races.
Rappler aggregated the reported cases of election-related violence within the past 7 days.
In Eastern Samar, 4 armed men killed a police officer who was guarding Precinct Count Optical Scan (PCOS) machines in Bgy Calingatngan, Borongan, Samar. One barangay tanod was also injured on Saturday, May 11, according to the PNP.
PO1 Agerico M. Afable was shot at close range and died on the spot. Barangay tanod Glecerio Gema was rushed to the Eastern Samar Provincial Hospital where he received treatment.
Three Philippine Marines were wounded in a shootout with an undetermined number of alleged members of the New People’s Army (NPA) near Barangay Lawit, Gingoog City, Misamis Oriental on Saturday morning, May 11.
According to Col. Leopoldo Galon Jr, chief of the 5th Civil Relations Group of the Armed Forces of the Philippines, the firefight lasted for about 10 minutes. One of the rebels was reportedly killed.
On May 9, another marine was wounded in an encounter with reported NPA guerrillas in Bgy Samay, Gingoog City while patrolling the area to clear the path for Commission on Elections (Comelec) inspectors to deliver PCOS machines.
On April 20, two people died and Gingoog Mayor Ruthie Guingona was hurt in an NPA ambush outside the city. Guingona is the wife of former Vice President Teofisto Guingona and the mother of Sen Teofisto Guingona III.
Rivalry in Palawan
On Friday night, May 10, two people were killed in a shootout between supporters of two rival mayoral candidates in southern Palawan.
Myra Ossop Bazari, 16, was hit by a stray bullet from the exchange of fire between the camps of incumbent Mayor Abraham Ibba and opponent Mulsinin Abdujarik. Alraviv Balidin, a member of the Sangguniang Bayan, also died in the incident.
Six other people were wounded and brought to hospitals in nearby Brooke’s Point and in Puerto Princesa.
North Cotabato casualties
In M’lang, North Cotabato, 3 political supporters of rival mayoral candidates sustained injuries after a shootout on Thursday, May 9.
In a report by Mindanews.com, two of those injured were supporters of incumbent Mayor Joselito Pinol (LP). The third person was a supporter of rival candidate Joselito Mercado.
In Banisilan, North Cotabato, a 14-year-old boy allegedly shot local candidate Gaspar “Gaps” Omar (UNA) on April 28.
According to police officials, witnesses reported that the suspect shot Omar in the back.
On Thursday, May 9, two soldiers died while 6 others were injured when alleged NPA members ambushed a group transporting PCOS machines in Kalinga. The election officers in the group were fortunately safe.
Members of the Philippine Army’s 17th Infnatry Brigade were on their way to accompany the delivery of PCOS machines from Tabuk to the towns of Labuagan and Tinglayan when they were ambushed at Sitio Pasiking, Bgy Bagumbayan.
The NPA is known to be active in this area.
Robbery and shootout in Mindanao
On Saturday, May 11, incumbent Kadilingan, Bukidnon mayor Joselito Jacosalem Talaid was injured after being shot in his left leg by suspected robbers who ran away with P7 million in cash from the politician.
His two body guards were killed while Talaid was taken to a nearby hospital.
Talaid and his escorts were traveling in the vicinity of Bgy Bocboc, Don Carlos when 6 armed men flagged them down at around 3 am, according to Maj Leo Bongosia, spokesman for the 4th Infantry Division of the miliary.
The authorities are still looking for the culprit.
Social media uproar
Online, people expressed their anger at the numerous incidents of election-related violence in the micro-blogging site Twitter.
Marcus Swanepoel (@riverswan) tagged Palawan as the “Wild Wild South.”
It’s the Wild Wild South in Palawan this election. First a bombing, now a shooting. bit.ly/17cj57c— Marcus Swanepoel (@riverswan) May 11, 2013
Election related violence in th PH is rly rampant.— Miamaii (@infiknight_bom) May 11, 2013
“Elections are like fiestas with that sinister edge of violence and greed.” @tanyahamada on election season.rappler.com/move-ph/issues…— Laurel Fantauzzo (@laurelfantauzzo) April 28, 2013
Election violence is not so new, It happened also in the past where friends killing friends to grab power! It is… fb.me/2Sa7ycIw6— Modern Philippines (@Modern_PH) March 21, 2013
Grabe mga news ngaun ah! Puro election violence! Ganun ba talaga kalaki kitaan sa ph politics? #halalan2013— Bon Larua (@b0nAndres) May 7, 2013
@iamstephenvp I taught in E Samar for a year. We know the place is full of good & talented people. They need good leadership to organize…— Clarisse Ligunas (@ClarLigunas) May 11, 2013
@iamstephenvp one of the poorest provinces in the country. They deserve better and they can do better.— Clarisse Ligunas (@ClarLigunas) May 11, 2013
These are just some of the reports gathered by Rappler. Violent incidents are often not reported.
In an election that embroils bullets and ballots, there are no true winners and losers. – Rappler.com
Stephen J. Pedroza, 20, is a Rappler intern. He attended Ball State University in Muncie, Indiana and is a Development Journalism student at Xavier University-Ateneo de Cagayan. Follow him on Twitter for real-time updates.
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