CAGAYAN DE ORO CITY (MindaNews/25 October) – Voters in this city trooped early to the polling precincts to cast their votes for today’s barangay and Sangguniang Kabataan elections, only to find out that the official ballots and other election paraphernalia had not arrived yet, a scenario repeated in Gingoog City and in the neighboring island province of Camiguin.
The last convoy of cars carrying the official ballots to the polling centers pulled out of the City Hall at around 7:30 a.m. The law provides that voting should start at 7 a.m. and end at 3 p.m.
Voting in most parts of the city started three hours late. And when the polling precincts opened, the perennial problem of missing names of voters on the lists posted outside [the precincts] caused tempers to rise.
Cagayan de Oro has some 257,000 registered voters distributed to 61 polling centers.
For Barangay Canitoan candidate for kagawad (councilmember) Manuelito Bernales, “this is institutional disorderliness already.”
Bernales’ daughter Althea ran for SK Chairperson in their barangay.
In Gingoog City, 120 kilometers east of Cagayan de Oro, reports from radio station dxCC-RMN said that as of 11 a.m. voting was yet to start. Election officials were quoted as saying that voting may start at around 1 a.m.
In Camiguin, Atty. Stalin Baguio, Provincial Election Officer said that as of 10:30 a.m., 80 percent of the precincts in the island had already received the official ballots and some had started receiving voters.
Atty. Palmer Palamine, Cagayan de Oro Election Officer explained that the delays in the start of voting were caused by the delay in the arrival of the official ballots from Manila.
“It was already very late last night that the official ballots arrived and our workers and volunteers have not even slept as they hastily segregated the bundles of official ballots for distribution to the polling precincts,” Palamine said.
“It is no longer under our control, the delays in the shipment of the official ballots is a result of the delays in the printing of these ballots as Congress had approved very late the budget for the elections after several moves to defer it,” Palamine explained.
Poll clerks who are mostly public school teachers were in the City Hall as early as 3 a.m. to collect the election paraphernalia only to wait until daybreak to finally bring these to their respective polling places.
Palamine said that they have received a resolution from the Commission on Elections en banc extending the voting to 5 p.m. to make up for lost time. Those in the vicinity of their respective polling places at 5 p.m. would be allowed to vote.
Meanwhile, in Barangay Consuelo, Magsaysay town in Misamis Oriental, election day was marred by the shooting of Ronald Acedilla Amaro, 27, in front of their residence.
Maj. Noli Kanashiro, spokesperson of the 4th Infantry Division reported that Amaro was seriously wounded when he tried to shield his father Rogelio Amaro from three motorcycle-riding assailants.
Rogelio ran for barangay captain of Consuelo.
The younger Amaro sustained gunshot wounds from a .45 caliber pistol in his right chin and is now being treated at the Gingoog Sanitarium Hospital. (BenCyrus Ellorin/MindaNews)