Umiinit! PNP chalks up 15 poll-related violence incidents, 547 arrests for gun ban violations

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The Philippine National Police (PNP) has recorded at least 15 suspected election related violence incidents (ERVIs), days ahead before the May 14 Barangay (village) and Sangguniang Kabataan (youth council) elections, Director General Oscar Albayalde said on Wednesday.

“We have now 15 incidents na election related kasi when it involves elected officials, kung nangyari yan during election period gaya ngayon we consider them as election related violent incidents suspected until proven otherwise (If it happens during election period, we now consider them as election related violent incidents until proven otherwise),”Albayalde told newsmen.

Albayalde cited incidents earlier reported in San Rafael, Bulacan, Abra and Nueva Ecija.

“We believe na ito yung tinitingnan natin na talagang merong connection sa election (We believe that these are the incidents we are looking at that really had connection with the election),” he added.

Meanwhile, Albayalde said that there have been 574 arrests for election gun ban violations.

“Remember these are suspected ERVIs although in some cases, only supporters of barangay officials are involved, not all killings. Others only involved physical injuries, others heated arguments. Remember, when we say ERVIs, these could only be cursing at each other, others result in brawls between rival candidates. Not necessarily killings,” Albayalde said.

The PNP earlier said there are 5,744 election watch list areas nationwide. The list consists of areas where there are intense political rivalry, presence of armed groups, activities of criminal gangs, proliferation of loose firearms, and activities of threat groups.

Out of the number, 2,025 are considered areas of concern; 3,448 are considered areas of immediate concern; and 271 are categorized as areas of grave concern. (PNA)