South Cotabato elections: peaceful but ‘dirty’

“The area was very peaceful. There’s no major untoward incident in our jurisdiction,” South Cotabato police chief, Senior Supt. Robert Kiunisala, said shortly before the closing of the polls at 3 p.m

Lawyer Lilian Radam, provincial COMELEC director, admitted that some election paraphernalia arrived only on Sunday from its main office in Manila.

The admission came amid reports of missing bottles of indelible ink in Surallah town.

“We’re looking into that complaint,” she told reporters, adding she’s still trying to get more details.

Reports reaching the provincial poll office said the number of  bottles of  indelible ink opened by the municipal treasurer office did not allegedly match the packing list accompanying the paraphernalia.

Radam also said that at least 900 official ballots arrived from Manila only last Sunday for distribution to some parts of the province.

“They were made to fill up the shortage in several precincts,” she said.

Kiunisala said they received reports about the firing of guns in remote Barangay Miasong in Tupi.

He also confirmed that armed men, reportedly believed to be members of the New People’s Army and bandits, were seen roaming in remote villages while elections were going on.

Intelligence reports showed the communists rebels under Front 76 were moving within the boundary of this city, Tampakan and Columbio in Sultan Kudarat, he said.

In the upper valley of the province consisting the towns of Banga, Surallah, Norala, T’boli, Sto. Nino, and Lake Sebu, Comelec officials are also looking on reports of vote buying for P200 each.

Even liters of gasoline were reportedly offered to the voters in favor of a politician.

In remote parts of T’boli town, armed men were allegedly intimidating voters to vote a certain candidate, police said. (MindaNews)