Pagalungan voting: “no untoward incident”

Security measures were tightened here following the controversial ballot-snatching incident recorded in May during the synchronized local and national elections. Then, Pagalungan was among two of Maguindanao’s 22 towns where candidates had opposition. Twenty of the province’s towns had candidates who were unopposed.

Lt. Col. Dickson Hermoso, chief of the 7th Infantry Battalion, said he deployed 200 men and six armored personnel carriers – two in them municipal hall, two in Layug-Linandangan area, and two Simbas moving along the highway — to serve as deterrent to whoever might intend to disrupt the elections.

Hermoso later pulled out the two APCs  in the Layug-Linandangan area and deployed them to neighboring Pikit in North Cotabato to guard the counting there following reports of possible use of an improvised electronic device.

An election monitor said supporters of a candidate for barangay chair in an interior barangay tried to snatch ballot boxes while supporters of the rival candidate attempted to preven them as the boxes were being distributed in front of the municipal hall here early morning. The supporters were driven away when a warning shot was fired.

Of Pagalungan’s 12 barangays, only the candidates in Barangay Poblacion ran  unopposed.  At the Pagalungan Central Elementary School, very few voters showed up to cast their votes in the two classrooms used for clustered precincts.

On the road to Kudal and Bagoinged, Cafgu Victor Bioy told MindaNews they heard a gunshot as they were patrolling the road between 7 to 8 a.m.

In Barangay Kudal, voters gathered outside a concrete structure originally intended to be a health center and later operated as a learning center by the USAID-EQUALLS Creative Associates Instiuttional Inc. The Commission on Elections had set up three voting precincts here.

Fourteen persons were running for the seven-person barangay council while two were running for barangay chair.

In Barangay Bulol, southern Pikit, North Cotabato, an elderly man collapsed as voters crowded outside the three rooms used for five clustered precincts each. (Carolyn O. Arguillas/MindaNews)