19 killed due to village election-related violence — Comelec
MANILA, Philippines — The Commission on Elections reported Tuesday that 19 people were killed during the period of the long-delayed Barangay and Sangguniang Kabataan elections.
Nineteen individuals were also injured from the start of the poll period on August 28 until the election day on October 30, Comelec spokesperson Rex Laudiangco said in an interview with CNN Philippines.
The poll body validated 29 cases of election-related violence. Comelec is still investigating 113 cases of violence to determine if these are connected to Monday’s elections.
The majority of these incidents occurred in the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao.
Despite pockets of violence, Comelec earlier described the long-delayed Barangay and SK polls as “generally peaceful.”
On election day, two supporters of a candidate for village chairman in Maguindanao del Norte were killed and four others were wounded while they were on their way to a roadside polling site.
A woman was also killed when a gunfight broke out after a van carrying a village captain and her supporters was stopped on a road by individuals supporting her rival in Lanao del Norte.
In Lanao del Sur, the husband of a barangay captain died after he was shot in the chest during a confrontation with his wife’s opponent.
In a separate interview with ABS-CBN News Channel, Laudiangco said the poll body had expected that the first Barangay and SK elections in five years will “have much more tension, be more heated.”
“Despite these figures being cause for concern for Comelec, the figures are still quite low compared to 2018,” Laudiangco said.
Elections are a traditionally volatile time in the Philippines, where a culture of political violence prevails. The poll body placed 365 barangays under the “red category” or the highest category for areas of concern ahead of the local elections.
“We really have to improve the situation. We have to normalize the elections to the people that it must not result in any form of violence,” Laudiangco said.
To prevent future violence in elections, the Comelec official said it will enhance the security template and its voter information efforts.
A day after the polls, President