By Martin Sadongdong
The Commission on Elections (Comelec) considered as a “victory” the fact that there was no declaration of failure of elections in any area in this year’s midterm polls, the poll body’s chairman announced Tuesday.
As such, Comelec Chairman Sheriff Abas praised security officials for ensuring the overall peace and order situation in the country which resulted to the “generally peaceful” elections.
“So far, [the peace and order situation] has been good except for a few incidents in Cotabato City, Maguindanao, and Sulu. But I reiterate that even with those incidents, there was no failure of elections there and the polls were still conducted in the said areas,” Abas said in a mix of Filipino and English.
According to the Philippine National Police (PNP), twin explosions rocked Cotabato City and Maguindanao on the eve and actual day of the elections.
Meanwhile, a violent incident was reported outside a polling precinct in Sulu after voters and supporters from opposing parties engaged in a commotion, resulting to throwing of stones and fistfight.
Abas also said that they will order security officials to investigate the reported burning of about two vote-counting machines (VCMs) and election paraphernalia in Jones, Isabela.
“Aalamin natin ‘yan at papaimbestigahan natin (We will look into that and we will investigate it),” he said.
Despite these incidents, Police General Oscar Albayalde, PNP chief, declared that there were no “major” untoward incidents on the election day.
In a press briefing late Monday, Comelec spokesman James Jimenez explained that failure of elections can only occur when “there is no longer reason to hold a fair and honest elections.”
Under Article 1, Section 6 of the Omnibus Election Code, failure of elections happen “if, on account of force majeure, violence, terrorism, fraud, or other analogous causes the election in any polling place has not been held on the date fixed, or had been suspended before the hour fixed by law for the closing of the voting, or after the voting and during the preparation and the transmission of the election returns or in the custody or canvass thereof.”