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Archive for May 14th, 2007

Cops brace for violence during canvassing as deaths hike

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By Joel Guinto
INQUIRER.net
Last updated 04:56pm (Mla time) 05/14/2007

MANILA, Philippines — (UPDATE) Police braced for possible violence following the start of the canvassing of votes after 3 p.m. Monday and as the casualty count from election-related violent incidents (ERVIs) rose to 118 deaths and 144 injuries, officials said.

On Election Day, four people died while seven others were wounded in ERVIs, lower than the nine deaths and 22 injuries recorded in 2004, said Deputy Director General Avelino Razon Jr., deputy national police chief for administration.

A village chief died in a shooting incident in Bucay town, Abra province at 1 a.m. Two supporters of a political candidate were killed in an ambush in Pio Corpuz town, Masbate province at around 5 a.m. Then at 8:30 a.m. another person was killed following a shootout with supporters of a rival candidate in Akbar town, Basilan province.

“As the polls closed at 3 p.m., we have noted a relatively peaceful situation nationwide and I am confident that this will be the ultimate outcome after the entire process is completed,” national police chief Director General Oscar Calderon said in a statement.

“However, we are not lowering our guard jus yet. Our experience tells us that the counting and canvassing of votes is the most critical stage in the election process that sometimes lead to confrontation between contending parties,” Calderon said.

Calderon said the “same aggressive security measures” during the pre-election period would be implemented for the canvassing, until the end of the election period on June 13.

Noting the downtrend of ERVIs on Monday compared to 2004, Razon said they “expect that we will have a lower record this year.”

In an earlier interview, Deputy Director General Antonio Billones, deputy national police chief for operations, said ERVIs are expected to subside two to three days after Election Day, when winning candidates start being proclaimed.

As of 2:15 p.m. Monday, police recorded 201 ERVIs that left 118 people dead and 144 wounded. During the 2004 election period, 249 ERVIs left 189 people killed and 279 others wounded.

Originally posted 4:55pm

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MonUTC2007-05-14T09:18:41+00:00UTC05bUTCMon, 14 May 2007 09:18:41 +0000 22, 2006 at 12:45 am05

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1 wounded in Maguindanao grenade attack

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By Joel Guinto
INQUIRER.net
Last updated 03:47pm (Mla time) 05/14/2007

MANILA, Philippines — One person was wounded in a grenade attack on a polling precinct in Maguindanao province before voting ended on Monday, the regional police chief said.

A motorcycle-riding suspect lobbed the explosive in front of an elementary school building in Galakit village at around 11:30 a.m., said Chief Superintendent Joel Goltiao, Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM) police director.

A certain Manaod Gani suffered minor injuries, Goltiao said in a phone interview.

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MonUTC2007-05-14T08:14:48+00:00UTC05bUTCMon, 14 May 2007 08:14:48 +0000 22, 2006 at 12:45 am05

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Despite 114 dead, polls ‘generally peaceful’ — PNP

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By Joel Guinto
INQUIRER.net
Last updated 02:46pm (Mla time) 05/14/2007

MANILA, Philippines — Notwithstanding reports of election related violent incidents (ERVIs) right into Election Day, police officials described Monday’s mid-term elections as “generally peaceful.”

A few hours before polling precincts closed at 3 p.m., police said 114 people had died and 132 others were wounded in 191 ERVIs. In the 2004 elections, 189 people killed and 279 others were wounded in 249 ERVIs.

“Overall, the situation was generally peaceful except for some untoward incidents,” Deputy Director General Avelino Razon Jr., deputy national police chief for administration.

“The election process has been proceeding smoothly. We hope this continues until the canvassing,” Razon told a news conference in Camp Crame.

The deputy national police chief for operations, Deputy Director General Antonio Billones gave a similar assessment, saying, “The situation seemed peaceful.”

Billones said ERVIs are expected to subside within two to three days after Election Day, when winning candidates would have been proclaimed.

Of the fatalities, 59 were candidates — either reelectionist or new — while 55 were supporters or ordinary civilians. On the other hand, 30 of the wounded were candidates and 102 supporters or civilians.

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MonUTC2007-05-14T07:12:16+00:00UTC05bUTCMon, 14 May 2007 07:12:16 +0000 22, 2006 at 12:45 am05

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‘No truce with Sulu terrorists’ — AFP

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By Joel Guinto
INQUIRER.net
Last updated 12:26pm (Mla time) 05/14/2007

MANILA, Philippines — The Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) had not declared a suspension of offensive military operations (SOMO) against Al Qaeda-linked militants in Sulu, contrary to reports, a military spokesman said.

But troops have been placed on standby for possible deployment to augment police units guarding polling precincts, Lieutenant Colonel Bartolome Bacarro said.

“There is no suspension of military operations. The pursuit against our high-value targets continues,” Bacarro said in a phone interview. “What we did was place troops on standby.”

Some 8,000 soldiers are engaged in a campaign in Sulu to capture leaders of the Abu Sayyaf and Jemaah Islamiyah (JI) militants Umar Patek and Dulmatin, the alleged brains of the 2002 bomb attacks in Bali, Indonesia.

Last Friday, authorities recovered four of Patek’s children in a raid on a suspected terrorist hideout in Simunul island, Tawi-Tawi province.

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MonUTC2007-05-14T05:17:39+00:00UTC05bUTCMon, 14 May 2007 05:17:39 +0000 22, 2006 at 12:45 am05

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Polls yet to start in 4 ARMM towns

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Police fear failure of elections

By Joel Guinto
INQUIRER.net
Last updated 12:24pm (Mla time) 05/14/2007

MANILA, Philippines — Three hours before the polls are scheduled to close at 3 p.m. Monday, elections have yet to start in four towns of the Autonomous Region in Muslim (ARMM), the police commander in the region said.

Chief Superintendent Joel Goltiao, ARMM police director, said he fears a possible failure of elections in these towns.

Precincts have not opened in Barira town, Shariff Kabunsuan province, after reported supporters of Mayor Alex Tomawis allegedly blocked the delivery of ballot boxes from the Commission on Elections (Comelec) office in Cotabato City, Goltiao said.

Goltiao said Tomawis’ female supporters barricaded the ballot boxes, initially preventing policemen from taking the election materials.

“That’s their culture in Islam. Our men can’t just touch the women. I have sent female policemen there,” Goltiao said in a phone interview.

In Lanao del Sur, elections have not begun in Lumba Bayabao, Binidayan, and Kapai towns after members of the Boards of Election Inspectors failed to show up at their assigned precincts.

Barira has 11,919 registered voters based on Comelec data found on the Election Map of INQUIRER.net.

Lumba-Bayabao has 9,174 registered voters while Binidayan has 9,049 and
Kapai, 5,670.

“That’s how it has always been in the area. The elections inspectors don’t show up on Election Day,” Goltiao said.

“The situation in ARMM is a little bit volatile, but under control,” said Director Wilfredo Garcia, chief of the Directorate for Operations. “The situation there needs to be watched properly because of some developments there.”

Elsewhere in the ARMM, Goltiao said the election has been proceeding in Sulu, Basilan, Tawi-Tawi, and Maguindanao, although he acknowledged reports of so-called “flying voters” in Marawi City, one of the reported centers of electoral fraud in the 2004 presidential elections.

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MonUTC2007-05-14T05:16:47+00:00UTC05bUTCMon, 14 May 2007 05:16:47 +0000 22, 2006 at 12:45 am05

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1 killed, 2 hurt in shootout between rival Basilan camps

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By Joel Guinto
INQUIRER.net
Last updated 11:31am (Mla time) 05/14/2007

MANILA, Philippines — One person was killed and two others were wounded in a shootout between two rival candidates in Basilan province Monday, the regional police commander said.

The firefight erupted around 8:30 a.m. in Tuburan village, Akbar town, between supporters of incumbent Mayor Ali Sali and his opponent, a former mayor identified only by the surname Hajaron, said Chief Superintendent Joel Goltiao, Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM) police director.

Goltiao could not immediately tell to which camps the casualties belonged.

“In these parts, rival families and clans engage each other when they cross paths. That’s why we’re trying to prevent them from crossing paths,” Goltiao said in a phone interview.

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MonUTC2007-05-14T04:09:12+00:00UTC05bUTCMon, 14 May 2007 04:09:12 +0000 22, 2006 at 12:45 am05

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Blasts rock Sharrif Kabunsuan town — police

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Fail to disrupt vote

By Joel Guinto
INQUIRER.net
Last updated 10:49am (Mla time) 05/14/2007

MANILA, Philippines — Two improvised bombs exploded at the gate of a polling precinct in Dalican town, Sharrif Kabunsuan province shortly after voting started, the regional police commander.

The explosions went off at around 7:30 a.m. outside the Pilot Elementary School.

There were no injuries, said Chief Superintendent Joel Goltiao, police director for the Autonomous Region of Muslim Mindanao (ARMM).

The explosion did not stop voting in the school. Goltiao said. He said “harassment” was the likely motive for the attack.

“The elections are ongoing. The explosion did not stop the elections,” he said in a phone interview.

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MonUTC2007-05-14T04:08:25+00:00UTC05bUTCMon, 14 May 2007 04:08:25 +0000 22, 2006 at 12:45 am05

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