Vote-buying, violence mar Lanao Sur, Basilan polls but PNP says election generally peaceful

June 3, 2010 8:31 pm 

CAMP SK PENDATUN, Maguindanao, June 3 – Police arrested at least four persons for vote buying and intimidation at the height of Thursday’s special elections in two areas in the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM).

Senior Insp. Ann Alvarado, ARMM police spokesperson, said two persons were arrested while in the act of vote buying in Sultan Dumalondong, one of the seven Lanao del Sur towns where special polls are being held.

Alvarado said the balloting in other parts of Lanao del Sur went on with high voters’ turn out.

In Marugong town, the voting was done manually because of power outage. An electric post fell the day before the special polls, forcing election officials to conduct the voting manually.

The counting will be held at the provincial gymnasium in Marawi City.

The special elections in some areas in Maluso and Albarca in Basilan were temporarily suspended after a local candidate attacked volunteers of the election watchdog.

Volunteers of the Parish Pastoral Council for Responsible Voting (PPCRV) were harassed by re-electionist Sakid Salajin and his supporters on suspicion that the volunteers were working for his opponent.

A rumble occurred outside two clustered precincts in Barangays Upper Mahayahay and Lower Mahayahay between the mayoral candidates’ supporters and PPCRV volunteers, forcing voters to disperse and seek cover.

This prompted poll officials to suspend the election which later on was continued.

Police arrested a man, identified as Arham Ajijul, who had bundles of money, campaign materials and bladed weapon.

While there were some hitches, ARMM police regional director Chief Supt. Bienvenido Latag said generally the balloting was peaceful.

“We have enough forces deployed to secure both the voters and poll officials,” he said.

At least 1,500 policemen and soldiers were deployed for security purposes in Lanao del Sur’s seven towns. (PNA)

LAP/NYP/EOF

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