Manila, Philippines – Candidates in village and youth council elections wrapped up their campaign activities on Saturday, as a two-day liquor ban came into effect at midnight.
The prohibition on buying, selling and consuming intoxicating alcoholic drinks came into effect Saturday midnight until midnight of Monday, the day the country goes to the polls to elect barangay and Sangguniang Kabataan (SK) officials.
Acting Commission on Elections (Comelec) Chair Al Parreño said on Friday that a command center has been set up at the Comelec office in Intramuros, Manila for all the 1,500 election officers throughout the country.
The Comelec also shredded on Friday more than a million spoiled, defective and excess ballots to prevent these from being used in fraudulent activities, Parreño said.
Gun ban violations
The Philippine National Police will also intensify foot patrols to deter violations of election laws, in addition to the checkpoints they have established across the country.
As of May 11, the PNP said it had arrested a total of 1,118 individuals over violations of the nationwide gun ban that took effect on April 14.
Chief Supt. Ma-O Aplasca, head of the PNP Directorate for Operations, said 1,043 of those arrested for gun ban violations were civilians, 15 were government and elected officials; six soldiers; six policemen and 10 members of threat groups.
Aplasca said the PNP has recorded 24 election-related deaths and seized over 600 firearms and gun replicas and a number of bladed weapons, grenades, IEDs and ammunition.
There were also cases where policemen will be deployed to serve as election inspectors.
Zamboanga City election supervisor Stephen Roy Cañete said 14 election inspectors for Barangay Busay backed out of election duties because of threats to their lives.
“They stated there are threats to their lives so we have to deploy policemen. We had trained policemen to serve as substitutes,” he added.
There were also instances of candidates themselves violating election rules.
There was a case of a policeman who was actively campaigning for his partner and a barangay candidate using government property in reproducing campaign materials.
Cañete said there were also 30 SK candidates in the city, who were found to have deliberately falsified their certificates of candidacy.
“There were a number of overage cases and for disqualification. It’s actually multiple cases and even if they win the election, we are not going to proclaim them,” he said.
On Boracay Island in Aklan province, which had been shut down for rehabilitation—livelihood and the environment were among the main issues in the campaign.
These issues were the common ones raised in candidates’ forums held this week on the island, said Elma Cahilig, election officer of Malay town, which has 17 villages, including three on Boracay Island.
Cahilig said they were expecting a lower turnout of voters for the barangay and SK elections because many residents and voters left the island.