Isabela bishop to Comelec: Declare 'failure of elections' in Basilan town

MANILA, Philippines – Isabela City Bishop Martin Jumaod asked the Commission on Elections (Comelec) on Monday, May 9, to declare a failure of elections in Barangay Matarling in Lantawan town, Basilan due to massive cheating.

"This is the first time in my 50 years that I saw actual people hoarding ballots and voting," Jumaod said in an interview with dxNO Radyo Komunidad.

According to Richard Falcatan, Rappler stringer in Basilan, most of the ballots in the voting precinct in Matarling already had shaded circles for the mayor and vice mayor portions. Some politicians' staff, wearing iVolunteer shirts, were reportedly shading 10 to 20 ballots at a time.

Falcatan, in a Facebook post, said many voters in the town weren't able to vote because someone else was already filling in their ballots.

"The police and the military were there but they weren't doing anything. No action was taken," Falcatan, a local radio reporter, told Rappler.

The local Comelec has yet to respond to the bishop's request.

Lantawan, a third class municipality, has 12,011 registered voters for the polls. The mayoral race in the town is being contested by brothers Abuamar and Rustan Ismael.

Meanwhile, Falcatan said other towns in Basilan had relatively smooth elections, except for Maluso town where there was a shooting incident after the polls opened. –