MANILA - Thirty-three people have died in 36 incidents of suspected election-related violence, the Philippine National Police (PNP) said Monday, as millions of Filipinos trooped to precincts to elect hundreds of thousands of village and youth leaders.
Election violence also left 19 wounded, bringing the total number of victims to 74, PNP chief Director General Oscar Albayalde told reporters.
There were 109 deaths and injuries in the 59 incidents of violence during the 2013 elections, he noted.
Among incidents under investigation were the fatal shooting of former La Union congressman Eufranio Eriguel and the botched ambush attempt on Daanbantayan, Cebu Mayor Vicente Loot over the weekend, said Albayalde.
President Rodrigo Duterte had accused Eriguel and Loot of involvement in the narcotics trade, which they have both denied.
Police are investigating whether or not the attacks on Eriguel and Loot were related to their alleged drug activities, said Albayalde.
There were 118 suspects in this year's election attacks, 75 of whom were unidentified while 28 were identified and still at-large.
Another 6 suspects were arrested while 9 were released, Albayalde said.
Some 1 million candidates are vying for 671,168 seats, split equally between the barangay council and the SK, the lowest unit of government.
There are 78 million registered voters and 36,781 voting centers.
Malacañang last month urged the public to refrain from voting for alleged "narco-politicians."