6 hurt in blasts, 1 killed in Lanao Sur’s ‘most peaceful election’

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By Froilan Gallardo, MindaNews and VERA Files

MARANTAO, Lanao del Sur — Three persons were injured when a grenade was lobbed at a polling center inside the state-run Mindanao State University in Marawi City Monday but missed its target and landed instead on a nearby house Monday.

Among those injured were Fahad “Lupito “Salic Jr., the 21-year old son of Marawi City reelectionist Mayor Fahad Salic.

The younger Salic was wounded in his foot and was brought to the Amai Pakpak Public Hospital in downtown Marawi.

Violence also erupted in other parts of Lanao del Sur in what the military and a poll watchdog said was the “most peaceful election” ever in the province.

Col. Glen Macasero, commanding officer of the 103rd Infantry Brigade said the grenade attack was intended to disrupt the voting at the elementary school in Barangay Cabingan inside the MSU campus.

A certain “Imo” Montaner was gunned down after casting his vote in Barangay Mable in Malabang town Monday morning.

Elsewhere in Lanao del Sur, poll monitor Citizens Coalition for ARMM Reform (C-CARE) reported that the a certain “Chalid Mama”, a nephew of Butig Mayor Ibrahim Macadato and two others were wounded when unidentified persons fired an M79 grenade at a polling center in Butig Monday afternoon.

C-Care’s monitoring center also reported that an unidentified political leader assisting voters inside a polling center in Tamparan town was shot and wounded.

The Lanao del Sur Provincial Election Monitoring and Action Center said at least 12 persons including Salic’s son and his companions were being treated at the Amai Pakpak Public Hospital.

Most of the injuries were the results of fistfights between supporters of rival candidates outside voting centers. Soldiers and police had to fire warning shots to stop the scuffles.

The most serious incident was in Buadi Puso–Buntong town, where scores were hurt as supporters fought each other outside the polling center.

After police and soldiers broke them up, a group of supporters vented their ire on a parked multicab van which they identified as belonging to their opponents.

Despite these incidents, the military and C-Care considered today’s election the “most peaceful ever” in Lanao del Sur.

“This is an improvement. Unlike in the past elections, we did not hear any gunfire,” Salic Ibrahim, head of C-Care Lanao del Sur said.

Ibrahim credited the grassroots advocacy made by various NGOs, government agencies, the military and police for changing the violent election culture in Lanao del Sur into a peaceful one.

Macasero said the participation of the Moro Islamic Liberation Front was also a big contribution to the conduct of peaceful elections.

The C-Care monitoring center said the Board of Election Inspectors reported that at least 12 PCOS machines malfunctioned in the early hours of the voting.

Ibrahim said the PCOS machines were stationed in six towns and in two clustered precincts in Barangay Malutlut and Amai Pakpak Elementary School, both in Marawi City.

(VERA Files, MindaNews and I-Watch are partners in "ARMM WATCH," an election monitoring project supported by The Asia Foundation and Australian Agency for International Development.)

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