Barangay, SK elections generally 'peaceful' — authorities

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Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, May 14) — The barangay and Sangguniang Kabataan elections have been generally peaceful, authorities said Monday after the polls despite confirming 13 deaths related to the balloting.

"The election was generally peaceful nationwide. There were some reports of shooting incidents today...but nobody was hurt in these incidents" Philippine National Police (PNP) chief Dir. Gen. Oscar Albayalde told CNN Philippines.

Albayalde said the incidents were mainly due to personal reasons.

"Really, these barangay and SK elections are really quite personal kaya nagkakaroon tayo ng election-related violent incidents," he said.

In a statement, PNP spokesperson PCSupt. John Bulalacao also said the polls "had been relatively peaceful and orderly in all regions of the country as polls closed at 3:00 p.m."

Police validated seven of the 47 reported violent incidents nationwide since April 14 as election-related.

Out of 33 suspected election-related deaths since April 14, police confirmed that 13 were linked to the polls – a figure lower than the 33 validated election-related deaths in the 2013 election, Albayalde told reporters. There were no immediate reports of death on election day itself.

Police added 1,350 people have been arrested for various offenses, including vote-buying, violation of the liquor ban, and possession of firearms, explosives, and bladed weapons.

"The PNP NEMAC (National Election Monitoring Action Center) is continuously monitoring election security operations of PNP units that remain in their posts until the culmination of election activities and complete pull-out of election personnel," Bulalacao said.

Commission on Election Commissioner Sheriff Abas, meanwhile, thanked those who took part in the conduct of the elections.

"Gusto naming pasalamatan lahat ng tumulong sa amin...gusto rin naming pasalamatan ang mga least naging matiwasay ang ating eleksyon. Gusto naming pasalamatan ang ating mga kandidato, dahil for the first time, wala tayong failure of election," he said in a press conference.

He said, however, they are still validating reports of a possible failure of election in a town in Northern Samar.

Interior Undersecretary Martin Diño likewise said the local elections have been smooth-sailing.

"Naging peaceful and yung conduct ng elections sa barangay ngayon ay talagang naging tahimik," Diño told CNN Philippines. "Ngayon, naka-monitor tayo sa counting na. Sana wag na magkaroon ng kaguluhan dito dahil almost finished na tayo."

He said, however, there were still reports of vote-buying and intimidation by local government officials and congressmen nationwide.

"Kaya nga dito, walang tigil ang pagre-report sa atin, most especially yung pakikialam ng mga local government official like the mayor and the governor, and even the congressman," Diño said.

He added the department is still verifying such reports, which would mean the officials violated the Omnibus Election Code prohibiting them from interfering in the elections.

Diño said following the polls, newly-elected officials will undergo a seminar on their accountability and duties to their respective districts.