Comelec issues show cause order vs. Lanao del Sur town mayor over election-related violence

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Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, September 8) — The Commission on Elections (Comelec) has ordered Mayor Alinader Balindong of Malabang, Lanao del Sur to explain the indiscriminate firing incident on Aug. 31 allegedly to stop the filing of certificates of candidacy for the Barangay and Sangguniang Kabataan Elections (BSKE).

The poll body asked Balindong to personally appear before its law department on Sept. 20 to air his side on why he should not be charged with an election offense.

In a video shared by the poll body, two men were seen shooting their firearms while the COC filing was ongoing at around 11:30 am outside the Municipal Hall of Malabang.

Malabang police said the two individuals in the video surrendered Friday afternoon.

Comelec Chairman George Garcia reiterated his call to place the area under the poll body's control due to the tension following the incident.

“Ako na magsasabi kahit na wala pang report ang PNP, it should be placed under Comelec control," he said on Friday. "At least pinakita nila pa lang yung magiging itsura ng eleksyon doon."

[Translation: Even though the PNP has yet to issue a report, I'm already telling you that it should be placed under Comelec control. At least, they already showed us how the election will take place there.]

“Nangyari na 'yan, Comelec control na yung bayan na yan dati eh," Garcia added. "Tapos ngayon filing pa lang ng candidacy ganyan. How much more kapag election na? Baka hindi pa makaboto mga kababayan natin doon."

[Translation: That town was already placed under Comelec control before. And now it's just the filing of candidacy. How much more when it's election day? Residents there might not be able to vote if that happens.]

The Comelec chief lamented that some individuals were not able to file their COCs due to the indiscriminate firing.

Garcia added, electricity was turned off for those who were filing their COCs.

Local police said they will file cases for violation of the gun ban, illegal discharge of firearms, and alarm and scandal.

Comelec Commissioner Rey Bulay said the poll body and the PNP are finalizing the list of places to be included in the areas of concern for the BSKE.

He said they will make the announcement following validation and consultation.

Police earlier said among the areas they are closely monitoring are Negros Oriental, following the killing of governor Roel Degamo, and the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region.

Comelec said there are about 300 violators of the gun ban to date.