Poll-linked violence leave 23 dead, 46 hurt

A TOTAL of 60 validated election-related incidents  killed 23 people and wounded 46 others, although the Philippine National Police said the figure is 55 percent less than the total 133 ERIs recorded during the 2016 national and local elections.

PNP spokesman Colonel Bernard M. Banac said that of the 60 validated ERIs, 51 took place before the May 13 polls; eight on Election Day and another one after the elections were over.

Banac said that since the election period started last January 13, there were 85 recorded victims of pre-election violence; 16 on E-Day and 12 others after the election was over.

The official said there were a total of 113 victims of those ERIs although 44 of them were unharmed.

Earlier, the PNP leadership said that a series of suspected post-election related incidents have triggered a massive investigation aimed at bringing the perpetrators to justice.

According to Banac, the PNP National Election Monitoring Action Center more than two weeks after the generally peaceful May 13 national and local elections is still continuously receiving reports of possible election-related incidents which have victimized elected government officials including barangay captains and Sangguniang Kabataan officials.

“The PNP Chief, Police General Oscar D Alabayalde, strongly condemns these violent attacks on the elected officials. The PNP Chief warns those perpetrators: we will crack down on you. We will double our efforts in the campaign against those involve in these incidents and put them all behind the bars,” Banac said.

According to the PNP spokesperson, Gen. Albayalde has directed all 17 Police Regional Offices to synchronize all their investigative efforts to piece together the circumstances surrounding the violent incidents following a directive from Interior and Local Government Secretary Eduardo M. Año.

He said NEMAC records showed that there were 51 incidents recorded after the elections which involved the killing of eight victims and the wounding of 14. Twenty-nine others were unharmed in attacks which occurred from May 14 up to Wednesday last week..

Banac said that 21 of the 51 incidents have been already solved by the police while eight others have been declared as “cleared” and 22 still under investigation.

“While it is premature to make early conclusions at this point, our actions will be guided by available facts and evidence at hand, and other evidence that may be obtained later in the course of the investigation.

“I am confident that in due time, we will achieve a breakthrough in our investigation under the same investigative framework that we applied in similar cases of violence against elective government officials. The PNP assures the public that it is doing its best efforts in order to uphold the peace and order in the country even after the elections,” Banac added.

He issued the statement a day after the PNP said that is now preparing for the 2022 presidential, national and local elections taking into consideration the effective measures they laid out which led to the success of the 2019 mid-term polls, considered one of the most peaceful and orderly in recent history.