ALTHOUGH the special elections in 11 provinces on Saturday were generally peaceful, the Commission on Elections again moved the polls in Antique and Lanao del Sur to Monday due to security and logistical problems.
In a press briefing, Comelec Commissioner Arthur Lim said two precincts in Antique lacked ballots while the polls in Lanao del Sur was again postponed because of a ballot snatching incident
In a resolution promulgated on May 14, the Commission en banc cited the report of its National Operations Support Center that precincts in Barangay Mabuyong in Anini-y, Antinque and Barangay Insubuan in San Remigio, Antique lacked 268 and 34 ballots, respectively.
“Special elections for certain precincts of Antique is set on May 16, from 5 a.m to 6 p.m.,” Comelec spokesman James Jimenez said.
In Tamparan, Lanao del Sur, Jimenez said, the special polls was also moved due to a ballot snatching incident at some precincts.
Nonetheless, a total of 19,791 voters were able to cast their ballots during the special elections.
These are areas in: Cordova, Cebu; Maitum, Sarangani; Sta. Cruz, Marinduque; Lope de Vega, Northern Samar; Matuguinao, Western Samar; Binidayan, Pata, Sulu; Panglima Estino, Sulu; Tamparan, Lanao del Sur; Sultan Kudarat, Maguindanao; Loreto, Agusan del Sur; and Hinigaran, Negros Occidental.
The military and police were employed as election inspectors in most of the areas after public school teachers did not show up for the May 9 elections amid security threats or logistical problems.
Special elections in Sulu, Sultan Kudarat, and Lanao del Sur have been peaceful so far, the military’s spokesman Brig. Gen. Restituto Padilla Jr. said on Saturday.
Padilla said the Joint Task Force Sulu are overseeing the security in the area while Joint Task Force Central is on top of the special elections being conducted in Barangay Katuli in Sultan Kudarat.
A total of 18,504 voters were affected by the declaration of failure of elections in certain areas in the country, according to Comelec Commissioner Christian Robert Lim who announced the updated number during the ongoing canvassing of votes by the National Board of Canvassers at the Philippine International Convention Center in Pasay City.
Through Resolution No. 10129, the Commission on Elections on Wednesday first declared a failure of elections in 52 clustered precincts, with a total of 17,657 voters, in Cebu, Sarangani, Marinduque, Antique, Northern Samar, Western Samar, Lanao del Sur and Sulu.
The following day, the Comelec again issued another resolution for failure of elections in three other villages, with 2,134 voters, in Maguindanao, Agusan del Sur and Negros Occidental.
The poll body directed police and military forces to “intensify efforts to ensure” the peaceful conduct of the special elections.
The Omnibus Election Code provides that failure of elections may be declared on account of force majeure, violence, terrorism, fraud, or other analogous causes when the election in any polling place has not been held on the date fixed.
It also provides that Comelec shall call for the holding or continuation of the election not held or suspended on a date reasonably close to the date of the election and must not be later than 30 days.
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