The Inbox
  • By Vicente Alejandro, VERA Files

    Tacloban City – The husband of a candidate in Jaro, Leyte was shot dead by a political opponent on Monday in what officials here describe as an isolated case in an otherwise peaceful election in the Eastern Visayas.

    Atty. Jose Nick Mendros, regional director of the Commission on Elections and Chief Supt. Elmer R. Soria, regional police director for Eastern Visayas declared the barangay election peaceful and said the killing and other incidents, including ballot box snatching and vote-buying, were isolated cases.

    Pablo Volcan, whose wife Rosalina is seeking her third and last term as chairwoman in Anibongan in Jaro, Leyte, was shot dead by the husband of her political rival, police said. They identified the suspect as Claudio Momo, whose wife Bernardita is opposed to the reelection bid of Rosalina. In the 2010 election, Rosalina defeated Bernardita.

    The suspect and the victim were both on board separate motorcycles and on their way to the Anibongon

    Read More »from Killing mars generally peaceful polls in Eastern Visayas
  • Convoy of SBETs on their way to Buldon midmorning on election day. Photo by ARTHA KIRA PAREDES/VERA Files

    By Vince Nonato, VERA Files

    A total of 850 police and soldiers served today as special board of election tellers (SBETs) in Maguindanao in place of teachers who refused poll duties because they fear for their safety, the Philippine National Police said.

    The province is one of three in the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM) where special SBETs were deployed and deputized. The two others are Sulu and Lanao del Sur.

    The PNP ARMM said a total of 2,353 SBETs were needed in the barangay elections in the region, but the PNP was only able to provide 1,923 in the three provinces requiring special poll tellers.

    The ARMM education secretary Jamar M. Kulayan told VERA Files on Friday that around 2,000 teachers from areas where posts are hotly contested signed a petition expressing their unwillingness to serve in the Oct 28 polls. About half of them are from Maguindanao

    These teachers were most likely harassed or threatened by politicians or their armed supporters in the past, hence their

    Read More »from 850 police, soldiers replace teachers in Maguindanao polls
  • By Jonathan de Santos, VERA Files

    Maguindanao voters

    As the country’s 54 million or so voters trooped to their polling precincts to vote for barangay leaders, some 62,500 from the Autonomous Region of Muslim Mindanao had the chance to do so as literates.

    That number represents graduates of a three-year literacy program by non-government organization Magbassa Kita Foundation Inc. It also constitutes a little more than ten percent of the 600,000 in the region—half its voting population—who can neither read nor write.

    The Commission on Elections allows illiterate voters to participate in elections with assistance from relatives or members of the Board of Election Tellers. Doing so presents a challenge, said MKFI board member Amina Rasul-Bernardo.

    With many adults in ARMM unable to read and write, it is easier for leaders to dictate how they should think and act, Rasul-Bernardo said at the closing ceremony for trainors of the MKFI's Literacy for Peace and Development (Lipad) program this month.


    Read More »from More ARMM voters literate
  • A voter in Araullo High School in Manila looks up his room number. Photo by LUIS LIWANAG/VERA Files

    By VERA Files

    (Updated) The nationwide barangay election on Monday was generally peaceful despite scattered violent incidents and cases of election offenses, the Commission on Elections said.

    “On the overall, at this point in time, mukhang okay na okay ang nangyayari. Wala kaming masyadong problema (There are few election-related incidents so far. It seems everything is OK. We don’t have major problems),” Sixto Brillantes Jr. said.

    The Philippine National Police (PNP) gave the same assessment and said the election was “fairly successful” and generally peaceful compared to the barangay election in 2010.

    Voting in more than 170,000 polling precincts in 42,028 barangays started at 7 a.m. and ended at 3 p.m.

    As bells rang to signify the end of voting hours, poll watchers and voters cheered as election tellers began the task of manually counting the votes.

    Brillantes earlier predicted a voter turnout of at least 80 percent, higher than the 77 percent turnout in the midterm elections in

    Read More »from Barangay polls generally peaceful; incidents isolated
  • Senior citizens exiting the mall. Voters in SM Manila, supposedly an accessible polling place, had to climb the stairs to vote. (Photo by DEXTER CABALZA)

    By Dexter Cabalza, VERA Files

    Ligaya Patañaga, 81, and her neighbor,Luzviminda Dularte, 75, showed up at the SM City Manila before 7 a.m., eager to vote at one of only four venues in the country designated by the Commission on Elections as accessible polling places (APP).

    But at that hour, the mall was letting in early birds like Patañaga and Dularte only through its San Marcelino gate.

    There was no lift at that gate. So Patañaga, 81, had to be helped by her neighbor and several police and mall security guards negotiate the 10-step stairs to reach the upper ground floor where the special polling place is located.

    That hardly mattered. Patañaga said she still preferred climbing the stairs at the mall than those at her regular precinct at the Araullo Elementary School.

    Noong May elections, kailangan pa naming umakyat sa third floor.Tapos mahirap doon kasi maraming tao, sama-sama kami (In last May elections, we needed to climb up to the third floor of the school. It was more difficult

    Read More »from Senior citizens prefer mall to regular precinct—even if they had to climb
  • Accessible polling place in SM GenSan. (Bong S. Sarmiento/MindaNews)
    By Bong S. Sarmiento, MindaNews and VERA Files

    General Santos City—In less than five minutes after approaching the Board of Election Tellers on Monday for the 2013 Barangay Elections, Gloria Rivera and Bartolome Hoyo separately emerged from the polling center with wide smiles.

    Unlike majority of the voters who suffered the scorching heat of the sun and long queues to vote in public schools, the two septuagenarians, for the first time in their lives, were voting in the comfort of a shopping mall.

    Rivera, 79, and Hoyo 76, were the among the 68 senior citizens and persons with disabilities from Barangay Lagao here who agreed to be part of a pilot project of the Commission on Elections.

    But only 59 of them or 86 percent had cast their vote by the time the special voting closed at 1 p.m., or two hours earlier than the regular polling precincts.

    This city is one of only four areas in the country selected by the Comelec for the initial implementation of Republic Act 10366, or which

    Read More »from Senior citizens, PWDs laud special voting in GenSan
  • By Vince Nonato, VERA Files

    At least 10 police officers have been deployed to guard the elections in one elementary school in Caloocan City because of the large number of registered voters there.

    Bagong Silang Elementary School's 90 clustered precincts have around 34,000 voters from Barangay Bagong Silang, the largest barangay in the country.

    Aside from the increased number of uniformed security personnel, two more plainclothes soldiers will be present in every classroom, said SPO1 Romano Segubre, who said this is in line compliance with to the directives of the Armed Forces of the Philippines that there be at least two soldiers for every polling precinct.

    Segubre said that the election has so far been peaceful and without incidents. Kami lang nanggugulo (We're the only ones disrupting the peace here)," he said in jest.

    Volunteers from the Parish Pastoral Council for Responsible Voting (PPCRV) had similar observations. Fr. Roel Belmis said they are unaware of any incidents within the

    Read More »from Ten policemen guard largest barangay
  • VERA photo3

    By Artha Kira Paredes, VERA Files

    Cotabato City—Elections in some barangays in the Autonomous Region for Muslim Mindanao (ARMM) on Monday will be just a formality: There will be no real contest because a number of candidates are running unopposed.

    Local politicos in these areas have opted to “negotiate” the elections as a way to avert violence in a place where political rivalries could turn violent, and at a time when elections are being held manually.

    In Bumbaran town in Lanao del Sur, all candidates for barangay positions in all 17 barangays are running unopposed. This is good news for Gov. Mamintal Adiong Jr.

    Alam nyo naman ang barangay, ito na yata yung pinakamainit at pinakamagulong election na idaraos ngayong taon (As you know, barangay elections are probably the most heated and most chaotic elections that will be conducted this year),” Adiong said in a speech at the flag raising ceremony at regional police headquarters in Camp General Salipada K. Pendatun in Parang,

    Read More »from Barangay posts in ARMM ‘negotiated’; what about democracy?
  • Eastern Visayas' Regional Joint Security Control Council meeting

    By Vicente Alejandro, VERA Files

    Tacloban City—More than 2.6 million voters in Eastern Visayas are expected to turn out in Monday’s barangays elections amid the killing of a candidate and allegations of vote buying over the weekend.

    Chief Supt. Elmer C. Soria, Eastern Visayas police director, however, said he remains hopeful that the nationwide elections to elect village officials would remain peaceful despite the shooting and killing incident in Northern Samar on Saturday.

    “This (killing) incident will not affect the peaceful conduct of the barangay elections in Northern Samar and the entire region,” Soria was quoted as saying by Inspector Romuel A. Nacar, regional police media relation officer.

    Northern Samar has earlier been listed as among the priority areas for security focus in the barangay elections.

    Eastern Visayas or Region 8 consists of Biliran, Eastern Samar, Leyte, Northern Samar, Samar, Southern Leyte and the cities of Ormoc, Baybay, Maasin, Calbayog, Catbalogan,

    Read More »from Weekend killing, vote-buying dog Eastern Visayas polls
  • By Froilan Gallardo, VERA Files and MindaNews

    Marawi City —Two children, aged 12 and 10, were injured in a poll-related strafing incident in Bubong town in Lanao del Sur where an election officer noted that candidates tried to outdo each other by shelling out P4,000 per voter.

    The incident occurred on Saturday when gunmen fired at a white FX car whom they mistook to have been driven by their opponent in Barangay Pendugo, Lanao del Sur.

    Lt. Col. Ralph Raoul Sistene, commanding officer of the Army 65thInfantry Battalion said sisters, Jamela Baunto, 12 years old and 10-year-old Jailen Baunto, survived with bullet wounds on their legs and are now recuperating in a hospital in Iligan City.

    “The gunmen thought the FX van the girls were riding on was driven by their opponent and they fired. We found M16 empty shells at the scene,” Sistene said.

    The Commission on Elections , the Philippine Army and the Philippine National Police have taken no chances in the delivery of election paraphernalia

    Read More »from 2 girls injured in poll-related strafing incident in Lanao Sur village


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