Volunteers in Basilan scuffle because of long queues.

Elections ‘generally peaceful’ despite shooting and bombing incidents – PNP, AFP

Despite three major election-related incidents (ERIs) and a number of election violations, the Philippine National Police (PNP) and the Armed Forces of the Philippines said today’s elections have so far been “generally peaceful.”

The number of ERIs are far less compared to the 92,000 clustered precincts, PNP Spokesperson Police Chief Supt. Wilben Mayor said. “We do not discount these incidents, however, as we recognize that one incident is too many,” he added.

In a media briefing Monday, AFP Spokesperson Restituto Padilla reported an explosion in Camp 3 School and a burning incident in Mamaanon Elementary School, both in Lanao del Norte. Both incidents happened early morning, which caused the delay of the opening of the precincts.

Meanwhile, a shooting incident was reported in Abra at around 7:30 a.m., which allegedly involved the parties of two mayoral candidates.

Mayor said it usually takes around three days before an incident can be attributed to the elections.

“We allow investigators to determine if an incident is election-related or not,” Mayor said. “It must disrupt the electoral process and create tension in a particular area, and the parties involved may be government officials, their families, or supporters,” he added.

But in some cases such as the two incidents in Lanao del Norte and shooting in Abra, the motive is already obvious, Padilla said.

A shooting in Brgy. Wawa, Rosario, Cavite at past midnight today which killed seven and left one wounded is still under PNP investigation, and cannot be classified as ERI yet, Padilla said.

The National Citizens’ Movement for Free Elections (NAMFREL), in a media release, had also said the elections are “proceeding smoothly,” save for isolated disruptions.

According to the poll watchdog group, a shooting incident in Hamidlain Elementary School in Jolo, Sulu has left one injured, while a bombing incident in Maimbung, also in Sulu, injured one person.

NAMFREL has also directed to the PNP details of the shooting of a Batangas councilor, it said.

According to the PNP, there have been 160 recorded incidents nationwide from Jan. 10 up to May 8. Only 29 are validated ERIs with 68 victims; 60 are non-ERIs and 71 are suspected ERIs.

Meanwhile, the PNP has arrested 4, 149 people for gun ban violations as of 7:30 a.m. today. Arrested civilians are at 3,972, while 33 and 18 are from PNP and AFP, respectively.

For the liquor ban, Mayor said 107 people have been arrested as of 8 a.m. today. The ban will be lifted on midnight.

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