Comelec still collating figures on election violence

By RG Cruz, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Jan 23 2013 03:48 PM | Updated as of Jan 23 2013 11:48 PM

MANILA – The Commission on Elections on Wednesday said it will investigate if the murder of Maconacon, Isabela Mayor Erlinda Domingo outside a Quezon City apartelle Tuesday night is connected to the May elections.

Domingo was seeking a fresh term under the Nationalist People's Coalition in the May 13 elections.

Comelec Commissioner Rene Sarmiento said the poll body does not yet have complete figures of election-related violence.

He said police have filed charges against 11 people for various election-related violent incidents (ERVIs) but these include arrests at checkpoints.

He said the automation of the elections lessened poll violence, noting the lower number of ERVIs in the 2010 elections compared to the 2007 polls, the last manual election in the country.

Tuesday's attack came amid mounting calls to impose stricter gun control laws in a high-crime country where politicians employ private armies and hundreds of thousands of unlicensed firearms are on the streets.

Violence often erupts ahead of elections, when politicians seek to eliminate or intimidate their opponents.

The most infamous case occurred in 2009, when 58 people in southern Philippines were massacred as a powerful political clan allegedly sought to stamp out a rival's challenge for a provincial governor's post.

With politicians gearing up to contest thousands of local and national positions during mid-term elections in May, authorities imposed a nationwide gun ban on January 13, meant to stop firearms from being carried in public. With Agence France-Presse