2023 barangay and SK elections

2023 barangay polls: ‘Peaceful’ despite cases of violence on election day

Dwight de Leon

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2023 barangay polls: ‘Peaceful’ despite cases of violence on election day

BALLOT TEARING. Over 300 unused ballots are torn apart at a precinct in Puerto Princesa following a commotion betweens supporters of candidates for the barangay elections, on October 30, 2023.


Comelec officials maintain that election day remained 'generally peaceful' despite incidents which they 'abhor and condemn'

MANILA, Philippines – Some villages in the Philippines witnessed incidents of violence on the day that Filipinos headed to the polls to elect their new set of barangay officials, but the poll body said the electoral exercise remained “generally peaceful.”

“The elections are generally peaceful in the entire country,” Commission on Elections (Comelec) Chairman George Garcia said. “When you say generally peaceful, we factor in the number of voters – 92 million. Let’s say the number of people affected is around 200,000 to 300,000, it seems like a small percentage. But of course, there are no perfect elections.”

As of Monday morning, 29 incidents of election-related violence have been confirmed, while 65 were listed as “suspected.”

2023 barangay polls: ‘Peaceful’ despite cases of violence on election day

In Puerto Princesa City in Palawan, a man – identified as 35-year-old Abdul Bait Bongaros – was arrested for tearing apart over 300 unused ballots on Monday morning, October 30.

Authorities are trying to figure out whether any of the candidates had a hand in the preceding commotion between supporters, and the eventual ballot-tearing.

The Comelec said voting had been delayed for more than 200 voters assigned to the affected precincts.

In Maguindanao del Norte, two people were killed following a shooting incident in Barangay Bugawas, Datu Odin Sinsuat town at around 6 am on Monday, just an hour before polls opened. They were found on the side of Cotabato-Shariff Aguak road with multiple gunshot wounds. 

Five others sustained injuries and were brought to Dinaig District Hospital for a medical check. Authorities identified two gunmen, along with two others, who were involved in the shooting. 

In Basilan province’s town of Tuburan, Barangay Lahi-Lahi Chairman Ibrahim Atang and five others were hurt during a gun attack.

Authorities said the incident took place outside a polling precinct following a confrontation.

In Nunungan, Lanao del Norte, a man was arrested for punching a cop outside a polling precinct.

In Butig, Lanao del Sur, Madid Bao, the husband of the incumbent barangay chairwoman of Poktan village died after he was shot by his opponent minutes before polls opened. Madid was running for barangay chairman. 

The poll body also said declaring a failure of elections in any part of the country is unlikely at the moment.

“For there to be a failure of elections, violence should be enough to prevent the conduct of election. We will admit the violation is not enough – even the tearing of ballots in two precincts in Palawan, the punching of a police officer, the killings here and there. We abhor it and we condemn it, but these separate incidents are not enough to stop holding the election,” Commissioner Rey Bulay said. – with reports from Kaycee Valmonte/Rappler.com

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Dwight de Leon

Dwight de Leon is a multimedia reporter who covers President Ferdinand Marcos Jr., the Malacañang, and the Commission on Elections for Rappler.