By Armando Fenequito Jr.
COTABATO CITY – Election day went on as normal despite the twin bombings that happened outside the New City Hall here, the night before the polls opened.
Cotabato City Police Office (CCPO) spokesperson Maj. Jude Marlon Del Carmen bared that, despite the bombings Sunday night, there were still many voters who trooped to the polling centers early morning Monday.
“After that blast, it had no effect for the voters, the casting of votes went normal, ” he said.
Del Carmen said they were still conducting thorough investigation to determine the identity of those who planted the bombs and their motive.
He said the investigators found during the post blast probe on Sunday night that 40 mm fragmentation grenades were used.
Del Carmen they could not discount the possibility that the incident was intended to disrupt the conduct of election or destroy the election paraphernalia inside the City Hall.
He said there was no casualty during the incident.
As of the press time, Del Carman said there was no report of any other major violent incidents at the polling areas, except from a reported commotion of two poll watchers but this has still to be verified.
He also said that, while there were reports of Vote Counting Machines (VCMs) malfunctioning, these were already being effectively addressed by the Commission on Election (Comelec).
Meanwhile, the Cotabato City Pilot Central School experienced a delay in the opening of its precincts on Monday morning.
Assistant Principal Maria Luz Valentin said the teachers, who were members of the electoral board, arrived late at 6:18 a.m. due to the heavy rains.
Valentin said the rain hindered the teachers to proceed to the school from the City Hall as they avoid any damage that will happen to the book of voters they got.
After the teachers arrived in the school, they need to claim the VCMs and other election paraphernalia and it will take time since it must be checked forts before being brought to the deisgnated classrooms.
Around 7 a.m., only few precincts inside the school started because of VCM malfunction.
Few minutes later, Valentin said the Comelec decided to start the poll through manual process.
Out 21 VCM, only six were functional and the technicians from the Comelec are still fixing it as of press time.