Voters turn up for special polls in provinces

Arianne Apatan, ABS-CBN News Central Mindanao

SULTAN KUDARAT, Maguindanao - A special election was conducted on Saturday in Katuli, Sultan Kudarat, Maguindanao, particularly in precincts 74-A, 75-A, 76-A and 77-A in Maguindanaon Elementary School.

The Commission on Elections (Comelec) declared failure of elections in different areas including Katuli, Sultan Kudarat, Maguindanao.

Failure of elections was also declared in Barangay Gabi, Cordova, Cebu; Maitum, Sarangani; Sta. Cruz, Marinduque; Barangay Mabuyong, Anini-y, Antique; Barangay Roxas, Lope de Vega, Northern Samar; Barangay Nagpapacao, Matuguinao, Western Samar; Binidayan, Lanao del Sur; Tamparan, Lanao del Sur; Pata, Sulu; and Panglima Estino, Sulu.

"May natanggap tayo na resolution, yung 10135 dated May 12, 2016, mandated the undersigned to conduct special election today," said Sultan Kudarat election officer Estelita Orbase.

A failure of election was declared in four precincts in Maguindanaon Elementary School after official ballots and the ballot box were snatched last May 9.

"Although na-save ang VCM (vote counting machines), hindi na rin makapag-conduct ng election kasi wala na ballot na gagamitin," said Orbase.

Instead of teachers, three policemen served as Board of Election Inspectors (BEIs) during the conduct of the special polls.

"Wala na tayo makuhang teachers, pagod na siguro at takot na baka mangyari ulit yung elections na nawala ito," Orbase said.

The election officer said the special election will not matter anymore in local posts.

Incumbent Mayor Shameem Mastura was already proclaimed as the winner after receiving over 38,000 votes against his opponent Engr. Ibrahim Ibrahim's 1,800 votes.

Meanwhile, in Negros Occidental, clustered precincts 0175A, 0176A, 0177A and 0177B opened at 6 a.m. today to accommodate voters from Barangay Palayog in the town of Hinigaran.

A total of 685 voters from the said barangay failed to vote on May 9, as official ballots intended for a precinct in Borongan, Eastern Samar were delivered to the polling precinct.

In Maitum, Sarangani, a total of 677 voters are expected to cast their votes today at precinct number 3 at the Malalag Central Elementary School.

This, after the election in the said polling precinct did not push through after the official ballots for Cluster No. 3 were instead sent to Alobo in Marinduque.

In Northern Samar, the special election in Barangay Roxas, Lope de Vega did not open on time due to a new en banc resolution of the Comelec moving the polling area to another barangay.

The resolution stated that instead of Barangay Roxas, voting will take place at the covered courts of Barangay Poblacion.

From Barangay Roxas, voters would have to walk around two hours just to get to the road where they would need to ride a habal-habal for over an hour drive to town.

A failure of election was declared in Barangay Roxas after a soldier was shot and killed while escorting the delivery of VCMs in the area. - With reports from Yasmin Pascual-Dormido, Chai Tabunaway and Geron Ponferada, ABS-CBN News