POCKETS of violence, including the killing of a registrant and the beating up of an election watchdog volunteer, marred the first six days of a new general registration of voters in the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao, say officials.
Election Commissioner Armando Velasco said yesterday that in Lumbaca-Unayan in Lanao del Sur, a registrant who had been complaining about the way the registration in the town was being conducted was shot dead on Thursday.
A policeman also opened fire on registrants in Butig, Lanao del Sur on the second day of the registration on Tuesday, Velasco said. A separate military report on the same incident said three civilians were injured.
In Putik, Lanao del Sur, according to Velasco, several election officers from Negros Occidental "walked out" of a voter registration centre after rival political supporters clashed nearby. After informing would-be registrants, they set up a new registration centre in Marawi City, the provincial capital.
Samira Ali-Gutoc, a womens sectoral representative in the ARMMs Regional Legislative Assembly, identified the fatality in the Lumbaca-Unayan shooting as Said Guro.
Citing sources from the town, Gutoc said Guro was with a crowd of other registrants milling around the municipal hall around 7am when he was shot by a still unknown assailant. The motive for the shooting was not known.
"This brazen display of lawlessness deserves the highest condemnation," said Ali-Gutoc.
Two Inquirer sources said Guro was among a group of people who were demanding that a registration centre inside the town hall be transferred to a neutral venue to enable registrants identified with a potential opponent of the incumbent mayor, Tomama Guro, to register. The incumbent mayor was allegedly using the town hall as his residence.
The Guro clan is split over political affiliations, the sources said.
Last Monday, the first day of the registration, a female volunteer of the Parish Pastoral Council for Responsible Voting was attacked by supporters of a local official in Parang town for refusing to give them t-shirts and identification cards intended for PPCRV volunteers, said PPCRV chair Henrietta de Villa.
Acting ARMM Governor Mujiv Hataman reminded politicians to leave the 10-day registration process alone. The registration period ends on July 18.
Hataman said despite reports of violent incidents in some areas, the registration, held to cleanse the ARMM voter lists of illegal voters, was generally going on smoothly.
Both De Villa and Comelec Chairman Sixto Brillantes said earlier that minors were seen registering as voters in many places throughout the ARMM. But they said this was not a major problem as the Comelec had the means to determine who they were and to disqualify them come election time.
Philippine Daily Inquirer
Sunday, July 15, 2012
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