Election 'relatively peaceful' so far: Albayalde
May 13, 2019 - Monday 3:05 PM by Jon JoaquinPhoto by Arjoy M. Ceniza
Philippine National Police (PNP) Chief General Oscar Albayalde on Monday said the opening hours of the midterm election was "relatively peaceful" and could "very well describe the orderly outcome of election day" until the closing of polling hours at 6 p.m.
In a press statement, Albayalde said aside from some confusion, administrative delays, and queuing during the opening hours of the elections, "there were no major untoward incidents that disrupted the holding of election proper."
He also noted that a total of 1,501 PNP personnel nationwide acted as Election Boards following the absence of the teachers, notably in the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (BARMM), Northern Mindanao, Bicol Region, Calabarzon, and Marikina.
Albayalde did not say why teachers in the areas were not able to serve as election boards, but earlier reports have indicated that a number of teachers have expressed apprehension over their security.
Albayalde also said the PNP has so far arrested 5,500 persons for violation of the Commission on Elections (Comelec)--imposed nationwide gun ban.
"Seized from these arrested persons were 4,618 firearms, and 44,226 other deadly weapons were confiscated, recovered, and surrendered," he said.
Albayalde said as of 12 noon on Monday, the PNP's National Election Monitoring and Action Center (NEMAC) has recorded a total of 100 incidents of vote-buying with 244 violators. Of these, 234 were arrested and 10 remain at large.
He said the PNP has also recorded a total number of 374 incidents of violation of the liquor ban, with 920 violators.
Albayalde said overall, the PNP has recorded a total of 43 election-related incidents in which 20 were killed, 24 injured, and 29 unharmed.
The PNP has also recorded two more explosions on Monday morning in addition to the explosion incident on Sunday night, bringing the total to three incidents.
Albayalde said the first explosion happened at 10:04 p.m. on May 12, 2019 at a vacant lot in Purok Omar, Cotabato City.
"Initial findings disclose that there were two Improvised Explosives Devices composed of 40mm that exploded in the said area," he said.
"This incident was followed by two more explosions that took place at 1:05 a.m. and 7:10 a.m. today, May 13, at Poblacion Dalican, Datu Odin Sinsuat, Maguindanao. One hand grenade was believed to have been thrown by unidentified Motorcycle Riding suspects," he added.
"All these incidents happened away from the polling places and so far, based on initial investigation, they have no connection with the elections," Albayalde said.
He said the PNP also received a report of a shooting incident outside a polling place in Panglima Estino, Sulu which resulted in the wounding of five civilians and the burning of two civilian vehicles.
"The situation is under control and investigation is ongoing to identify the suspects," he added.
"Our present level of operational readiness and vigilance will be maintained until the election process is completed," Albayalde said.
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