MANILA, (Rahnuma): The Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) said Monday’s mid-term elections were mostly peaceful except for “very minimal breach of peace and order” to intimidate voters.
“The conduct of the national and local elections was generally peaceful,” AFP public affairs chief Col. Noel Detoyato said in a statement, adding that “the expected violence did not happen.”
“The months of preparations through coordination and conferences by the PNP (Philippine National Police), AFP and the Comelec (Commission on Elections) have been effective in ensuring that the Filipino people can exercise their right to vote free from intimidation, threats, and harassment,” Detoyato said.
“There were last-minute attempts to disrupt the conduct of elections but these were immediately addressed by our security forces,” he said.
Nine people were slightly injured in a shooting incident Monday morning in front of a polling station in Tiptipon, a remote village in Sulu province, said Gerald Monfort, Lieutenant Colonel of the military’s joint task force Sulu.
Four blasts rocked the southern Philippines on the eve of and during the elections. AFP spokesperson Brig. Gen. Edgard Arevalo said the explosions were meant to scare people from casting their ballots.
One explosion in Cotabato City and two others in Maguindanao province in the southern Philippines took place but did not cause any casualties.
A fourth explosion occurred in Marantao town in Lanao del Sur around on Monday afternoon.
Col. Romeo Brawner, commander of the Army’s 103rd Brigade, said one of the suspects tried to hurl the grenade on the soldiers from their parked van but the grenade caught the window and bounced inside their van.
“It exploded inside the van, wounding the one who hurled it,” Brawner said. The injured and his two cohorts were later detained.
A search of the van yielded an improvised explosive device, Brawner added.
The PNP has recorded 17 election-related deaths in at least 40 cases of election-related violence before Monday’s elections.
Nearly 62 million Filipinos have registered to choose among 43,500 candidates vying for about 18,000 congressional and local posts, including 81 governors, 1,634 mayors and more than 13,500 city and town councilors across the country.
Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte said the midterm elections’ results can be seen as a crucial referendum on his leadership.
Duterte’s single, six-year term ends in June 2022.
The Comelec is expected to declare the final results in at least a week for national posts and a few days for local positions.