Polls held in 87 Lanao Sur villages; election officers remain ‘missing’

CAGAYAN DE ORO CITY (MindaNews/29 October) — Elections in 87 barangays in Lanao del Sur continued today, but the problem of disappearing election officers and municipal treasurers persisted prompting the Commission on Elections (Comelec) to extend the voting until Wednesday.

Atty. Ray Sumalipao, Comelec regional director for the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao said he already replaced the election officers from Buadipuso and Masiu towns for abandonment of post.

“Until today, these two election officers have not reported to us. This is highly irregular,” Sumalipao said.

He said he had directed to continue the holding of elections for 21 villages in Buadipuso and Masiu on Wednesday.

Tomorrow marks the third day of voting in Lanao del Sur which was marred by fistfights between supporters of rival candidates and shooting incidents.

Comelec postponed the elections in the 87 villages after the ballots failed to arrive on time after the local election officers and treasurers went missing on election day.

Col. Glen Macasero, head of the Army 103rd Infantry Brigade said another political supporter was gunned down in Tamparan town Tuesday morning, bringing the total number of election-related killings in the province to two.

A certain Tomtom Mohamad Ali, 28, was shot outside the house of newly elected Aisal Jadji Ali in Barangay Malabangon in Tamparan.

Macasero said that in Bubong town a defeated candidate for barangay chair burned the house of his relative whom he blamed for his loss Tuesday dawn.

In Agusan del Sur, a belated report reaching the 4th Infantry Division (4ID) in Cagayan de Oro said that a team of soldiers engaged 15 members of a private armed group in a firefight in Rosario town on Monday.

Capt. Christian Uy, 4ID public information officer said the soldiers killed one of the alleged gunmen in a firefight in Purok 3 prompting his companions to flee.

Uy said the presence of the armed group was reported by the municipal election officer. (Froilan Gallardo/MindaNews)