Duterte claims Davao Sur not as tense but…

Comelec Southeastern Mindanao spokesperson Melcar Unso, citing a report from Comelec Davao del Sur officer Atty. Ma. Febes Barlaan, confirmed Duterte's announcement.

“Except for the massing in the capitol, as headed by gubernatorial bet 1st district Rep. Douglas Cagas, which is not violent, there is no other noticeable incident there," Unso said.

Both camps of  gubernatorial bets  Cagas and 2nd district Rep. Claude Bautista have hurled election protests against each other.   

Duterte appealed for moderation among warring parties, naming Cagas, to avoid heating up the tense situation in the province. Cagas, a former governor, accused Bautista of rigging the votes in Malita, the latter's hometown.

Duterte said politicians should let Comelec resolve issues raised in election protest. "And if there's anything that is reasonable but not acceptable, we can always resolve it through legal remedies," he said.

Cagas said a vigil among his supporters at the Capitol will continue until the Comelec en banc decides on their election protests.

Meanwhile, Task Force Sarmiento, created by the police to probe the slaying of Malita mayoralty bet Isidro Sarmiento and his son, Danilo, filed double murder charges against Bautista and his bodyguards.  

He told MindaNews Monday night that the provincial board of canvassers has denied a move by both parties to exclude the certificates of canvass in Matanao town.

The town was one of four where canvassing was suspended in the aftermath of the killings.

Barlaan told GMA TV Davao the count was hampered by procedural issues arising from protests.  

Unso said the provincial BOC reconvened today to re-tabulate the Statements of Votes for the Party-list and Senatorial candidates for "manifest errors."  

Last week, the Comelec placed the province under total gun ban as tension rose over election-related violence and election protests.

Duterte timed his shoot-to-kill order against suspected criminals working as bodyguards of politicians during the announcement of the total gun ban.

Comelec ordered the police for a crackdown on gun carriers in the province, including passersby in Davao del Sur's highways. The order, issued by elections commissioner in-charge for Southeastern Mindanao, Romeo Brawner, called to disband and disarm private armies.

Malita, with 60,000 voters, is the second biggest town in Davao del Sur. The province has a total 481,002 voters.

Tension, however, mounted in Sulop, another town when Bautista's camp filed a case at the Comelec with a video footage of what appeared to be vote manipulation by perpetrated by Cagas.

Cagas denied the charge adding the video was manipulated. (Walter I. Balane/MindaNews).

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