Vote-buying cases only blot in otherwise peaceful Calabarzon polls—Carranza

THE elections in the entire Calabarzon region last May 13 will go on history as the most peaceful and orderly in recent history but marred only by incidents of massive vote-buying which were promptly addressed by authorities, Police Regional Office 4-A director, Brigadier General Edward E. Carranza told the Journal Group yesterday.

“Except for incidents of vote-buying, we are very thankful that the public have shown their support and cooperation with the authorities so that we could all have safe and peaceful elections in the entire Calabarzon region,” the official, a classmate at the Philippine Military Academy ‘Sinagtala’ Class of 1986 of Philippine National Police chief, Director General Oscar D. Albayalde said.

Official Comelec records showed that Cavite Governor Jonvic Remulla of Nationalista Party was reelected after defeating Liberal Party’s Ayong Maliksi by more than 330,000 votes. On the other hand, PDP-Laban’s Dodo Mandanas was  runaway winner in the Batangas gubernatorial race, leading his closest rival, independent candidate Jojo Gutierrez by more than 1.48 million votes.

PDP-Laban’s Ramil Hernandez also defeated Partido Federalismo ng Pilipinas’ ER Ejercito in the race of Laguna’s gubernatorial post by more than 425,000 votes while NPC’s Nini Ynares was reelected as Rizal governor defeating her closest rival, independent candidate Jose Velasco by more than 758,000 votes.

Lakas candidate Danny Suarez is the new Quezon governor defeating independent candidate Kulit Alcala by more than 334,000 votes.

According to Carranza, they investigated 14 incidents of vote-buying which led in the arrest of 32 suspects and the seizure of P426,000.

The official said last May 12 up to the end of the liquor ban, they conducted 307 operations which resulted in the arrest of 34 persons for violating the alcohol ban.

He added that from January 13 to date, they have also arrested 624 gun ban violators and confiscated 428 firearms.

On Election Day, Carranza said 10 persons bearing 11 assorted firearms were arrested, six of them at the Pagkakaisa Elementary School in Barangay San Antonio, Biñan City, Laguna.  The suspects identified as  retired Army soldier Eduardo Pontillas,54, a resident of Marilao, Bulacan; Ruben Afable,44, of Caloocan City; Aven Pabit,44, of Libmanan, Camarines Sur; Edgine Olcepido,37, of E. Rodriguez, Quezon City; Arnel Pamittan, 42, of Rodriguez, Rizal; and Antonio Austria,40, of San Mateo, Rizal are now facing criminal charges.

A 7th suspect identified as one Col. Rey Liwag’ is still being hunted by the local police, Carranza said. According to the official, members of the Binan City Police Station led by Major Henry Villagonzalo arrested the suspects amid a complaint they were threatening people in the area.

The suspects were found on board a white  Nissan Urvan with plate no. TQH- 836. Laguna Police Provincial Office director, Colonel Eleazar P. Matta said the suspects who yielded six assorted firearms and dozens of ammunition were allegedly serving as security personnel of mayoralty candidate Donna Yatco who lost to PDP-Laban’s Attorney Arman Dimaguila by nearly 10,000 votes.

The Calabarzon police also removed nearly 35,000 campaign posters and tarpaulins posted in illegal areas in the region.

Carranza also said they were saddened by the death of Staff Sergeant Ramil Dagle, a member of the Batangas City Police Station who suffered from a heart attack while rendering election duties at Soro Soro Karsada Elementary School in Bgy. Soro Soro Karsada, Batangas City.