20 persons killed from election violence since January – PNP

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A total of 20 persons were killed in 43 incidents a day before the May 13 polls, the Philippine National Police (PNP) said Sunday.

PNP spokesperson, Col. Bernard Banac said the figure involved election-related incidents recorded from January 13 to May 11. A total of 24 persons were also wounded since the start of the election period.

Banac said the number is low compared to the number of election-related cases in the previous election years.

He added that based on the National Election Monitoring Action Center (NEMAC) in Camp Crame, the PNP has so far recorded 19 incidents of vote-buying activities throughout the country as of 11 a.m. Sunday.

Banac said of the 19 incidents involving 157 persons, 147 were accosted and the 10 others remain at large.

He said there about 207 ASIN (Ang Suhol Iwaksi Natin) teams have been deployed, which is composed of 1,784 police personnel.

“Number has been increased by the PNP to respond to numerous complaints from the public on vote buying/selling. We urge the public to help document suspected violations, preserve the evidence, and inform authorities of the incident right away,” Banac told reporters in a statement.

Maj. Gen. Mao Aplasca, PNP Directorate for Operations, said the arrests were made by different police units since the start of election period on January 13.

“We are sending a strong message that this time we will take vote-buying seriously. To those planning [to engage], huwag na sila mag-attempt (don’t attempt),” Aplasca said.

Consequently, the PNP and Comelec bared the activation of Task Force Kontra Bigay which will focus on investigating and prosecuting those will be caught engaged in vote-buying and selling.

Aplasca said around 105 teams of Task Force Kontra Bigay will be formed across the country ahead of Monday’s elections.

“We are going to create operating teams per region. In National Capital Region Police Office (NCRPO), there will be six teams: one per district and another one at the regional headquarters. In other regional offices, one team per province and chartered city and another for regional headquarters,” he explained.

The PNP also bared 24/7 hotlines where the public can report cases of vote-buying and selling, and other suspicious activities in their communities related to the midterm polls.

The PNP-National Election Monitoring Action Center (NEMAC) hotlines are 0916-330-9158 and 0947-520-7864. (PNA)