MARAWI CITY (MindaNews/27 October) — Two children, aged 12 and 10, were injured in a poll-related strafing incident in Bubong town in Lanao del Sur where an election officer noted that candidates tried to outdo each other by shelling out P4,000 per voter.
The incident occurred on Saturday when gunmen fired at a white FX car whom they mistook to have been driven by their opponent in Barangay Pendugo, Lanao del Sur.
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Lt. Col. Ralph Raoul Sistene, commanding officer of the Army 65th Infantry Battalion said sisters, Jamela Baunto, 12 years old and 10-year-old Jailen Baunto, survived with bullet wounds on their legs and are now recuperating in a hospital in Iligan City.
“The gunmen thought the FX van the girls were riding on was driven by their opponent and they fired. We found M16 empty shells at the scene,” Sistene said.
The Commission on Elections , the Philippine Army and the Philippine National Police have taken no chances in the delivery of election paraphernalia and ballot boxes to Lanao del Sur’s 39 municipalities and Marawi City.
Col. Glen Macasero, commanding officer of the 103rd Infantry Brigade deployed three convoys of heavily-armed soldiers to escort the delivery of the election paraphernalia and ballot boxes to the towns and Marawi City.
More than 380,000 votes are expected to troop to the voting centers tomorrow and select their Punong Barangays and their councilors.
Lawyer Nasib Yasin, Lanao del Sur provincial election supervisor said political rivalry is so intense in some of the towns and villages in Marawi City where as many as 100 candidates are contesting the position of barangay chairman in one village
“For example, 226 candidates are fighting against each other to be the barangay chair in Marawi’s 96 villages,” Yasin said
Aside from Marawi City, Yasin said more than 100 candidates are fighting for 21 barangay chief positions in the town of Madalum and 84 candidates are also contesting 20 positions for barangay captains in Maguing town.
“That is the reason the value of one vote has gone up,” Yasin said adding that prices for votes have gone up to P4,000.
Yasin said some candidates have also resorted to “hati-hati” (half-half) system, where candidates agree that one will no longer actively oppose the other provided that they share each other’s term of office.
In the “ hati-hati” system, Yasin said a candidate will give way as soon as their agreed period comes up.
“It is inexpensive and there is no bloodshed because the agreement is bound by family agreements,” he said. (Froilan Gallardo / MindaNews)