(Evening wrap-up) 2010 automated polls generally peaceful — PNP

May 10, 2010 8:08 pm 

MANILA, May 10 –- The Philippine National Police (PNP) described on Monday the 2010 national elections as generally peaceful with much less election-related violent incidents (ERVIs) compared with the two previous elections.

PNP spokesman Chief Supt. Leonardo Espina said that as of late Monday afternoon, the PNP had compiled a total of 82 validated ERVIs throughout the country since the start of the election period last January 10.

”We can consider these elections generally peaceful compared to two previous elections in 2004 and 2007,” said Espina.

Espina noted the significant decrease in the number of ERVIs recorded this year compared to the figures in 2004 and 2007 polls.

Data from the PNP showed that in the 2004 presidential elections, a total of 249 ERVIs were recorded, resulting in the killing of 148 people. In the 2007 midterm polls, some 229 ERVIs were registered with 121 deaths.

”This (82 ERVIs) is effectively 200 percent decrease compared to 2004 and 2007 incidents,” said Espina.

PNP records showed that the 82 validated ERVIs had resulted in the killing of 27 people while 40 others were wounded. Espina, however, admitted that some “isolated cases” were now being reported to the police.

”There are isolated cases that are now being investigated by our personnel,” he said.

The latest probable ERVI erupted in Cavite at around 2:30 p.m. near the Bacoor Municipal Police Station in Barangay Talaba IV where staff members of Rep. Plaridel Abaya and local police personnel engaged in a shooting incident.

Initial reports showed at least two persons were killed while another was wounded during the incident.

Espina said the case is now being investigated.

In Zamboanga Sibugay province, three more supporters of a mayoralty candidate of Roseller T. Lim municipality died in a clash with policemen who were then manning a checkpoint in the town proper at around 2 a.m.

Senior Supt. Federico Castro, Zamboanga Sibugay PPO director, reported that the clash erupted after the armed supporters of the mayoral candidate fired at the police elements manning the checkpoints.

“Our personnel conducted a pursuit operation and it was during the ensuing firefight that three of the candidate’s supporters were killed,” said Castro.

The clash also resulted in the wounding of the team leader of the lawmen manning the checkpoint, said Castro.

He said that his men were forced to withdraw during the gunfight as they noticed that the candidate’s supporters were being reinforced by several armed men.

Castro said they already sought the assistance of the local military unit which, in turn, deployed additional personnel to protect the police station and all the voting centers in RT Lim town and nearby areas.

Espina said the number of ERVIs is expected to increase with several reports of election-related incidents now being received by the PNP but he maintained that such cases would be subjected to validation.

On the part of the Commission on Elections, the poll body said the country’s historic, first-ever automated elections was peaceful and orderly, except for isolated and minor hitches.

A few voters who wanted to cast their ballots on a cooler weather took advantage of Comelec’s extension of the automated voting process in all precincts nationwide until 7 p.m. Voting was originally scheduled to end at 6 p.m.

In Laguna, supporters of Los Baños mayoralty candidate Anthony Genuino and rival candidates clashed before dawn Monday over speculations of massive vote-buying by the Genuinos, the Laguna Provincial Police Office (LPPO) said.

LPPO said supporters of rival candidates rushed to Trace College in Los Banos where Genuino was allegedly housing thousands of voters.

Police said the speculation started when residents saw over 30 buses and more than 50 jeepneys enter the school premises owned by Genuino, and after two Toyota Land Cruisers were seen parked outside Mayundon Elementary school.

Los Baños Police chief Supt. Chito Bersaluna said there was no legal basis to arrest the men inside the vehicles. He added that there was no evidence of vote buying.

This angered the supporters of Genuino's rivals, who then started throwing stones, prompting a policeman to fire warning shots.

Meanwhile, former GMA-7 broadcast journalist and Bangon Pilipinas senatorial aspirant Alex Tinsay was an early bird in the electoral process in Quezon City.

Tinsay cast his ballot at past 7 a.m. at the North Susana Heights Precinct in Barangay Matandang Balara, Diliman.

Bangon Pilipinas standard-bearer Bro. Eddie Villanueva cast his vote in Hagonoy, Bulacan in the country's first- ever automated elections. (PNA) scs/MM/JCA

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