No major untoward incident in nationwide polls: PNP

MANILA -- Except for some minor incidents, the Philippine National Police on Monday said the conduct of the midterm 2019 election in the country was generally peaceful and orderly.

“As voting hours officially closed at 6 p.m., the 2019 National and Local Elections turned out to be generally peaceful nationwide with no reported major untoward incident that affected the overall turnout of the electoral exercise,” said PNP Chief Gen. Oscar Albayalde in a press briefing late Monday.

“With the success of our security operations, I would like to express my deep gratitude to all PNP personnel and thank the AFP (Armed Forces of the Philippines), Comelec (Commission on Elections) and other government agencies who have been part of this resounding accomplishment,” he added.

He said that except for isolated incidents that briefly interrupted voting in some polling centers in the BARMM, and a few cases of technical malfunction of the Vote Counting Machines (VCM), the political exercise went ahead smoothly and orderly in the 36,831 voting centers nationwide.

Albayalde said police and military personnel continue to man their posts to provide security to members of electoral board and Comelec personnel, and to secure election paraphernalia, documents and equipment.

“These security personnel shall ensure the complete pullout of election personnel and materials, and the transport of election returns to the local canvassing centers,” he said.

“After the culmination of 12 hours of voting today, we have monitored only 23 significant incidents such as shooting, indiscriminate firing, illegal discharged of firearms, explosion, grave threats, and harassments. The investigation is still going on to verify which of these can be classified as Election Related Incidents or not,” he said.

Meanwhile, a total of 332 vote-buying incidents were recorded, which resulted in the arrest of 297 persons and rescue of three minors.

“We thank the public for actively reporting to us incidents of vote buying or selling which gained for the PNP a positive public response on our effort against this illegal act,” Albayalde said.

On liquor ban, he said some 387 incidents were reported with 986 persons arrested.

“Let me remind the public that the liquor ban will remain in effect until 12 midnight tonight,” the PNP chief said.

On Election Boards, Albayalde said a total of 517 PNP personnel served as Election Boards in the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao, Cordillera, Northern Mindanao and Zamboanga Peninsula.

All illegal acts, particularly the carrying of firearms, explosives and other deadly weapons; organization of security forces; and unauthorized employment of bodyguards and security personnel remain prohibited and are subject to police intervention, until the end of the election period on June 12.

Meanwhile, the PNP arrested 5,500 gun ban violators as of Monday. Seized from them were 4,618 firearms, and 44,226 other deadly weapons. (PNA)