Friday, October 8, 2010

Barangay and SK Election Related Violence

As I mentioned in my preceeding post about the upcoming Barangay and SK Slections on October 25, 2010, though it may be counter-intuitive the violence associated with this Election often greatly surpasses that of the National Elections.

As is often the case, some politicians like to take a proactive stance. The same type of initiative that allowed them to rise to the top of the political slag heap is often reflected in their refusing to procastinate. As the adage says, why leave something for tomorrow when you can just as easily do it today? Case in point: On July 29, 2010 in Barangay Poblacion, North Upi, Maguindanao Province, Datumin Laguialam, a Barangay Councilor for Barangay Ganassi was leaving a mosque on the corners of Quirino Street and Roxas Blvd. when he and his 3 sons were blocked by partisans of the town's mayor, CVO soldiers of Ruben Platon.

As Laguialam and his sons Mujihidin, aged 14, Datulong, aged 20 and Nasrudhin Sakilan aged 24 stood there a heated exchange beagn and soon, as is so often the case here, the guns came out.Luckily for Laguialam though he and all 3 sons were carrying 45 caliber pistols and so they managed to return fire as they quickly took cover and the busy street cleared of non-combatants.

The CVO (Civilain Volunteer Auxiliary) is an official government Force Multiplication entity used to wage COIN (Counterinsurgency warfare) that comes under direct control of whichever LGU (Local Government Unit) has requisitioned its creation.Unlike the more widely known and employed CAFGU (Civilain Auxiliary Force Geographical Units),CVO are neither under AFP control nor are they mandated to receive any type of training,specialised or other.The result of course is that they are often co-opted by the local politicians in charge of those LGUs. This was the case with the Ampatuan CVO (as in"Maguindanao Massacre"), the Lantud CVO in Pantao Ragat (Lanao del Norte Province) and of course, this CVO, under Mayor Ruben Panton.

The CVO, owning to its relationship, sublimated to the LGU, radioed in requesting assitance to the local local AFP element via radios provided by their handlers and soon an M60 (crew served machine gun) was on scene, doing some real damage. The Laguialams were able to badly wound CVO soldier Bong Balasbas in both legs but suprisingly, neigh, amazingly nobody else was wounded and not 1 person was killed ( In an unrelated matter, it is worth noting that Balasbas was the man who (allegedly due to Ph, Libel Laws) who shot Perot Ali in the North Upi Public Market with 1 round going right through Ali's arm and missing his heart by a mere milimeter). At 3PM a Laguialam Clansman was able to affect a Cease Fire with the AFP via some quick and well placed phone calls to 6ID (Infantry Division) brass at Camp Siongco in Awang (6ID HQ). Just another summer day in ARMM (Autonomous Region of Muslim Mindanao).

September 01, 2010 in Barangay Poblacion, Binidayan, Lanao del Sur, 4 Alizaman brothers, Faizal, Isa, Abed and Asnawi, all sons of Barangay Caoptain of Barangay Guiarond, Pagayawan, Abdullah Alizaman, arrived in the Binidayan Public Market carrying M16s. When the AFP on site tried to gently talk to the brothers about the town's recently passed municipal ordinance which bars any public display of weaponry in public places (MO#01-2010) the brothers drew down and a 1 hour fire fight ensued. Amazingly, as is often the case, the brothers were terrible shots and even more amazingly, the AFP were decent shots, or perhaps didnt do much shooting. Only 1 bystander, jomar Gampong, was wounded in the right foot. None of the soldiers or 4 brothers were injured.

The AFP was then able to seize the brothers when they ran out of ammo, and perhaps more seriously, to the brothers, impound their 3 motorcycles, all new XRMs. the Provincial Council of Elders was then called in to try and mediate a satisfactory resolution since jailing the brothers and holding their property would set off alarge Clan War ("Rido"). The Council of Elders is the
handiwork of the provincial governor and is an impressive innovation utilising both Shari'a (Islamic Law) and Maranaw (Maranao) Tribal Law to aimacbly resolve everything from Rido to Kidnapping for Ransoms. They have had alot of success with the programme and I hope to write more about it eventually.

September 10, 2010 was Eid al Fit'r, or as many Filipino Muslims call it, Hari al Raya. The holiday celebrates the end of the 30 day long holiday (not exactly the proper word but one that is understandable to Western minds none-the-less) of Ramadan. Owing to the very serious nature of Ramadan, which includes fasting and heavy contemplation during all daylight hours, Eid al Fit'r is relished as a day to kick back and enjoy. Such was the case when the former Mayor of Tugaya, Lanao del Sur Province, Alimatar Pacalna Guroalim and 4 friends went to Barangay Cagayan, Poona Piagapo in Lanao del Norte to pray and visit other friends.

Guroalim, who was seeking to regain that town's mayoralty (the mayoralty still hasn't been awarded since Tugaya is one of the Lanao del Sur munisipalities that endured a "Failed Election" on May 10, 2010) and his friends were heading back to Tugaya when they were waylaid by roadside gunmen who killed the former mayor with multiple rounds to the head, and wounded all 4 of his friends. 1 of the 4, 25 year old Kasim H.Asgar died later that day at Amai Pakpak Hospital in Marawi City.The 65IB (infantry Battalion) then deployed 1 COY (Compamy) plus armoured and waterborne assets to Tugaya and its shores along Lake Lanao, to keep the town from imploding ahead of the Special Election which at that point had still be schedualed for later in the month (it is now going to be held November 13, after 2 more re-schedualings).

On Friday, September 17, 2010, Barangay Councilor Edgar Mali of Zamboanga City's Barangay Mali was sitting on his hospital bed in Zamboanga City Medical Center recovering from painful gunshots recived on September 15 when a group of gunmen quickly entered his hospital room and shot him in the abdomen and left foot before running outside and escaping. The original wound had been received while riding his motorcycle, when over taken by 2 motorcycles with a tandem pair on each.

On September 22, 2010 in Patikul, jolo Island, Sulu Province, Barangay Councilor Karra Aruk's family was sleeping when gunmen armed with M16s strafed the house over and over, killing Aruk and 4 clan members including a 1 year old infant. In addition, 2 small children were critically wounded as well. While the homeowner is a Barangay Councillor, and it is election Season 9for him), 1 of the dead males in the home had been accused of late of sexually harassing a pregnant female of another local Clan. Amongst Tausug Tribesmen like the Aruk Clan, this is a capital offence so that the raison d'etre for these killings may be unrelated to the Election. That remains to be seen at this point.

September 29, 2010 in Barangay Tuyan, Malapatan, Sarangani Province a joint operation by the AFP's 73IB (Infantry Brigade) , Malapatan and Sarangani Provincial PNP (Philippine National Police) raided the home of Mhidzfar Cutan but not before the man took 2 of his own kids hostage at gunpoint and threatened to kill them. Cutan is alleged to have been the man who planted the IED on the abandoned motorcycle that detonated just as governor Mig Dominguez's motorcade passed by a local bridge, after visiting the mayor of G'laan, who himself had been almost killed by (now) Congressman Manny Pacquiao's campaign workers.

It had been posited then, and since that Pacquiao's camp was behind this attempt as well though that angle is being kept tightly unde wraps at the moment. Cutan was identified by 3 witnesses who said that he was the last man that they had seen walk near the motorcycle. While that may not sound like even remotely circumstantial evidence, it has sent people to Death Row here (when we had it anyway).

Progress on the investigation into the attempted assasination against him must have cheered Gov.Migs Dominguez as he took to the range on September 18 and 19, 2010 in Saragani Province's IML Shooting Range. With a grin ear to ear the govenor hosted as well as competed in the "1st annual Migs Dominguez Steel challenge sniping Competition."Only in the Southern Philippines will you find a govenor who recently walked through a bombing before taking a leisurely lunch and only on Mindanao will you find one hosting a sniping contest.

October 02, 2010 on Calle Pospero in Sitio Pospero, Barangay San Rafael, Lamitan City, Basilan Province, Entong Musa, Comelec Officer for tuburan, Basilan was killed by 3 shots as he stepped into the road. 2 men riding tandem on a motorcycle then made their quick escape.

That same day, October 02, 2010 in Barangay Pimbalayan, Lambayong, Sultan Kudarat Province, Barangay Captain Romeo Sombreto was shot repeatedly and died shortly thereafter on the operating table.

Also October 02, 2010, at 430AM in Barangay Bagua Dos, Cotabato City, North Cotabato Province, Barangay Councillor Azgar Badruddin, now running for Barangay Captain, was in morning prayers when his van, parked in front of his campaign HQ just meters from his home went up in flames. Luckily for him his uncle was sleeping in the office and rushed out to see a man on motorcycle riding away, and was able to douse a sack filled with flammable materiel that had been placed on the van's front seat. Badruddin is running against the wife of the current Barangay Captain as well as a fellow Barangay Councillor.

On October o3, 2010 in Molundo, Lanao del Sur rival factions in the Barangay Election got into a protracted firefight as candidates lined up to file their Certificates of Candidacy, without incurring any casualties.

Later, in Isabela City, Basilan, the COMELEC Officer of Tuburan, also on Basilan, was killed. Entong Musa had just stepped off the curb on Calle Prosepero, in Sito Prospero, Barangay San Rafael when 2 men riding tandem on a motorcycle pulled up to him. the man on the rear pulled out a 45 and shot Musa to death.

That same day, October 03, 2010 in Barangay Pimbalayan, Lambayong, Sultan Kuradat Province, Barangay Captain Romeo Sombreto was shot to detah outside his house.

On October 06, 2010 NFWM (Naval Forces Western Mindanao) CO (Commanding Officer) and concurrent CO of the Marine force on Basilan, Brig.Gen.Eugenio Clemen revealed that he had deployed 2 assets to the previous weeks meeting in the island's town of Al Barka where Abu Sayyaf factional leader Kumander Nurhasan Jamiri spoke about Abu Sayyaf having 2 men in the running for that town's Barangay Election. Alot has been made of this development, at least in military and analytical circiles but it is all a big to do about nothing.

The 2 men in question are NOT members of Abu Sayyaf but merely relatives of lower echelon members. to put that into perspective one must consider that virtually all Basilano Yakans (the indigenous tribe of Basilan) and a good many Tuasugs are related one way or another to past or present Abu Sayyaf guerillas. The 2 candidates probablly do enjoy a tacit alliance with the organisation but then again that has and continues to be the case in virtually every population centre on the island. anyone remember the april 2010 Raid on Isabela were an island politician sponsored a large coordinated operation by Abu Sayyaf on that city, the capitol of the island?

Brigadier General Clemen maintains that the alliance is not aimed at any ideological objective, such as gaining political power to further whatever iota of ideology Abu Sayyaf still retains, but rather as a fundraising initiative since Barangay Governments, like every Philippines Governmental entity is given a substantial amount of"pork" (cash which officials can dole out as they see fit without having to give an accounting for). Abu wants some pork, hmmm...I could vent a bit about that pun but...

Basilan COMELEC officials deny any knowledge of any such plan or candidates but that would be par for the course of course since as locals themselves they would more often than not be directly tied to Abu Sayyaf as well, at least tacitly. the officials have of course"vowed"to meet with the AFP to hash out any details and possible contingencies.

On that same day, October 06, 2010 ,Lanao del Norte Governor Khalid Dimaporo, in comments to the Provincial Peace and Order Council urged care be taken to ensure peaceful and orderly Elections on the 25th. In the May 10, 2010 National Elections the Province had only 1 noteworth incident on record, a group of gunmen in Poona Piagapo tried to wrest election materiels from the hands of BEIs (Board of Election Inspectors, usually area public school teachers). the AFP came to the rescue and any bloodshed or mayhem was averted. However, to buy into that glowing fact one must remember that 21 of the province's 22 municipalities are run by Dimaporos or their close allies. The 22nd, run by a cousin of the governor, Eleanor Dimaporo Lantud is the centre of an ultra-violent dynamic that I wrote about in depth in my post about that election in that province. The governor sought to implement Martial Law, capitalising on the fear and uncertainty following the Maguindanao Massacre. So, scratch a bit beneath the surface and one finds a totally different picture.

As if by master stroke, the next day, October 07, 2010 saw a truly troublesome incident in that province. COMELEC Officer for the town of Tangakal, Pangalian"Peping"Lumabao was driving with Election Encoder Jamil Omar and 3 Security Escorts and a Driver in Barangay Pantaloan, Kolambugan when a group of gunmen waylaid their van and killed Lumabao with 6 shots from an M16, mostly to his face.

Though the upcoming Barangay Election might certainly be a factor Lumabao was facing charges related to the afore mentioned National Election of May 10, 2010. An ousted SP (Sangguniang Panglalawigan aka Provincial Council) Councilor filed a charge against Lumbao with the Provincial Peace and Order Council for Extortion. Appatrently Lumbao had been requiring 300 Pesos (5 Euros) to file Certificate of Candidacy, for the Barangay Election, when they should have been free for the asking. Though this complaint centers on the upcoming election the SP Councilor is rumoured to have quite a long list of complaints relating to the National Election. Lumbao has also been charged, by his superiors, with having accepted "Flying Voters" (voters from other areas being registered in a specific area foreign to them) from Lanao del Sur Province.

October 09, 2010 saw 12 year old Daryl Navarro Mahabuhay of Barangay Binongan, Veruela in Agusan del Sur Province killed by shrapnel when a fragmentation grenade was tossed inside the doorway of his nipa, while a 38 year old uncle was critically wounded in the attack. Veruela PNP (Philippine National Police) say that it is related to that barangay's election.

October 12, 2010 in Tamparan, Lanao del Sur Province rival barangay factions got into a firefight over the upcoming Barangay Election resulting in 3 wounded individuals. PNP 3rd Maneuver Battalion and AFP were then deployed in force to keep the town under wraps.

At 11PM on Tuesday, October 12, 2010 in Barangay Lower Tinungcaan, North Upi, Maguindanao Province a fragmentation grenade was rolled under the nipa (bamboo framed hut with thatched nipa palm for walls and roof) as a family was fast asleep inside. The detonation killed 30 year old Angelie Timpadan and her 2 young daughters, 6 year old Laarnie and 4 year old Ajuline, usually called by her nickname," Jalanie." Ms.Timpadan's 3 other children, 10 year old Arjel,"Archie," 7 year old Aisehl and 11 months old Allanes were very critically injured by the shrapnel and rushed to the town's hospital.

The father of the family, Datu Allan Timpadan, a Teduray Tribal chieftain and a candidate for Barangay Council was at a meeting with his allied candidate for Barangay Captain. Datu Allan is also a member of the Teduray Lupon Tagapamayapa, the Teduray Tribal Justice System but the attack on his family was related to barangay politics as witnessed by the attack taking place on October 15.

Speaking of which, on October 15, 2010 at 2AM in Barangay Rosary Heights Mother, Cotabato City in North Cotabato Province,Hadji Omar Hamsa Oranone's home was significantly damaged when 2 men riding tandem on a motor cycyle tossed an IED in front of his gate, which sits onlt 3 meters from the home itself. The device's detonation left an 11cm.deep impression under concrete showing a very powerful device was utlised. Though Oranone himself was unhurt his mother Fausia Oranone and 2 daughters Lalai and Baishy Oranone were not as lucky. Seriously wounded, all 3 were taken to an area hospital for treatment.

Though a resident of Cotabato City Oranone is a land holder in the aofre mentioned town of North Upi over the provincial line in Maguindanao with 100 hectares of corn and coconuts in Barangay Rempes. It is for this reason that Oranone is in the running for Captain of that barangay and also why his carport, home windows and vehicle were all heavily damged. Though there are 3 very serious incidents in that very small town (N.Upi) since mid-July, all 3 are entirely unrelated which is perhaps even more troubling than the usual rigamorole that takes place immediately prior to elections.

Going back again to October 12, 2010, the 4 room Limbayan Primary School in Barangay Limbayan, Bongo Island,Parang, Maguindanao, a polling site for the upcoming Barangay Election, was burned to cinders. Bongo Island, which translates fully into English as,"Skull Island" was named thus not for any nefarious reasons as 1 might expect when discussing Mindanao at karge but rather because of its unique shape. Sitting roughly 15 km off of Maguindanao's coast it is governmentally tied to the mainland town of Parang.

Ethnically Iranun Tribesmen, a Muslim ethnicity, the Biruar Clan owns virtually all open land and much of the village land as well. The Biruar are the most powerful Iranun Clan & are generally considered to be fair and maganominous with their duties.

October 14, 2010 in Sitio Abungkod, Barangay Kinam, Malapatan in Saragani Province brother Tony and Diel Maguan were illegaly logging when abducted by the NPA's Front 71 over the brothers' support of the NPA backed candidate in the October 25 Elections.
That same day,October 14,2010,Sitio Baras,Barangay Kapatagan,Digos City,Davao del Sur Provincethe supporters of 1 candidate for Barangay Councilor were held at gunpoint by men authorities say were NPA guerillas.Coincidentally,on October 16 authorities said that they had engaged that same band of guerillas in a 20 minute fire fight after the PNP attempted to serve NPA member Roberto"Ka Marvin"Castillote who also goes by the nom de guerre,"Ka Enoy"in Sitio Libudon,Barangay Sinoron,Santa Cruz in Davao Oriental Province.The W3rant,which was not served since noone was captured OR killed was for 5 charges of Murder,7 charges of Robbery and 2 charges of Multiple Murder.The charges all stem from a Feburary,2009 ambush of an PNP detachment in Barangay Managa,Bansalan,Davao Oriental as they provided a Security Detail for a cadaver recovery.3 PNP officers were killed immediately as 1 civilain whom they were escorting.A 4th PNP officer died on the operating table for a total of 5 killed in the attack.

The next day, October 15, 2010, Brigadier General Rey Ardo, CO of the 103Bde whose AOR covers Lanao del Sur Province addressed the day's meeting of the PPOC (Provincial Peace and Order Committee). Brig.Gen.Ardo asked that the PNP be redeployed as BEIs (Boardof Election Inspectors) just as they did in the province's Re-Balloting held in June, 2010. His comments came in response to news that BEIs, who are usually public school teachers, in the towns of Lumalondong, Lumbaca-Unayan, Marogong and Tugaya would not be showing up for their assigned duties due to fear of violence. In the last Barangay/SK Election, in 2007, roughly 200 barangays out of the province's then 1,157 were declared"Failed"because of this exact issue, lack of BEIs.Before Brig.Gen.Ardo spoke the PNP's Provincial Supt.Cosanie Derogongan told those gathered that the PNP expects violence in several areas on Election Day and the AFP, with regard to this Intelligence, has been undertaking a proactive stance with Pre-emptive Security and Force Projection Patrols.

I will list an incident that took place on July 10, 2010 as well though I do so with a bit of reservation. At 1230PM that day, in Zamboanga City's Barangay Mamping, an M26 grenade was tossed by 2 men riding tandem on a single motorcycle at Barangay Councilor Delfin Pioquinto, though the munition didnt detonate. On July 13, 3 days after the grenade attack, a 2nd Barangay Councilor was shot to death in an adjoining barangay. On July 14th Mayor Celso Lobregat held a closed door meeting at City Hall for all Barangay Captains and Councillors to address the rash of violence plagueing 5 city barangays, and predominatly targetting barangay politicians. En route to this meeting a city owned van carrying barangay politicians in a 2 vehicle convoy with a van carrying Barangay Tanods (Barangay Guards) passed into Barangay Kasangyangan and was immediately ambushed. As the vans stopped gunmen, all armed with 45s, surrounded the vans and seemed to be specifically picking out people by face. Barangay Councillor Victor Dagalea was shot in his left armpit and killed immediately.

I hesitate to even discuss this in this entry because it is more likely than not related to a Clan Feud ("Rido") between a Chavacano (Christian ethnicity, non tribal) and Muslim family that has engulfed 3 of that city's barangays for a bit more than a year now. Often times though, Rido, or Clan Warfare, has a heavy political angle so...I hope to be doing an entry or two on Clan Feuds and how they interplay with the insurgency here but for now, there it is...

Moving right along...Wednesday, October 20, 2010 in Barangay Sengal, Lamitan, Basilan, Jainuddin Dulla, the Barangay Captain of Barangay Bullas in Lamitan was being driven on a motorcycle by a supporter when ambushed by gunmen with M16s. The supporter, Jamrud Kuranding was killed while Kuranding was critically wounded.

That same day in Barangay Sinawal, GenSan (General Santos City), 58 year old Meliton Bansalao, a City Councillor, was working on his motorcycle in front of his home after supper when 2 men riding tandem on a motorcycle pulled up and the passenger pulled out a 45 and shot him to death. Town and Provincial Councils are dealt with in the National Elections, not the Barangay/SK Elections. Never the less Bansalao was involved in his Barangay race by lending support and electoral expertise to a candiate who happened to be embroiled in an electoral conflict.

Thursday, October 21, 2010 in Barangay Salvo, Datu Saudi Ampatuan, Maguindanao Province, a convoy of the 29IB en route to IB HQ after taking part in a local Peace Convenant came under attack from 15 MILF under sub-Kumander Mohiden Karialan, killing the Barangay Captain of Barangay Liab, Mamasapano, Salik Guimba. Also killed was Barangay Councillor Nasser Mapangal of Barangay Libutan, also in Mamasapano. The 2 politicians were trailing the convoy in a multicab after also having taken part in the Covenant. 1 AFP soldier was critically wounded.

Also on October 21, 2010, at the IMT (International Monitoring Team) HQ in Cotabato City, North Cotabato Province, MILF CCCH Chairman Sa'id Sheikh, GRP (Govt.of the Rep.of the Philippines) CCCH Chairman, AFP Maj.Gen.Reynaldo"Rey"Sealana met with IMT Chairman Maj.Gen.Datuk Baharom bin Hamza of Malaysia to sign a document entitled,"Mutual Guidelines for Understanding. The CCCH is a bi-lateral entity composed of personell from both the MILF and GRP whose sole purpose is to re-inforce the Cease Fire and act as an interface to resolve minor violations there of, as well as acting as a sort of early warning system. The IMT is a multi-national entity devoted to also re-inforcing the Cease Fire.The document is a Brief on the Barangay/SK Election and takes effect on October 23 and will endure through October 27 in hopes of fostering a more peaceful and orderly election.

Friday, October 22, 2010 in Barangay Poblacion, Datu Odin Sinsuat, Maguindanao, a town beset by a years long MNLF-MILF communal conflict that I have outlined in several entries, was again wracked by violence when Vice Mayor Sajid Sinsuat's compound was attacked by gunmen who tossed a hand grenade by a caretakers bunkhouse severely wounding 2 servants of the Sinsuat Clan. Sajid Sinsuat however was safely in Cotabato City attending Jumar Service for the Islamic Sabbath.

That same day in Davao City, Davai del Sur Province, Task Force Davao CO (Commanding Officer), Col.Leornado Ray Gurrero reminded paramilitary soldiers not to involve themselves in politics. They were reminded that it is forbidden to wear any kind of campaign materiel including stickers or pins, especially when voting. Those deployed as Security at voting precints must be in full uniform and when voting change out of uniform before doing so, then back into fatigues before resuming duty. when in uniform they must maintain a uniform distance of at least 50 meters from the entrance to a poll site.

Saturday, October 23, 2010 in Barangay Salat, President Roxas, North Cotabato, Barangay Councillor Abdillah Macalaylay was critically wounded and his Clansman Baidito Macalaylay killed when their home was raked with M16s.

That same day, COMELEC Commissioner Gregorio Larrazabal gave the nation the wonderful news that up to 20% of Visayas and Mindanao's barangays would probablly not be able to vote on time due to a snafu at the printinc company responsible for inking ballots. Trying to alleviate the problem he said COMELEC staffers were now working 24 hours around the clock trying to resolve the delay. Especially affected are Regions 6, 8, 9, 10 and of course...ARMM. Apart from the printing company dropping the ball, Larrazabal blamed the issue on a failure of COMELEC to delegate a specific Commissioner for each facet of the preperation process, as has been the case in the past. Of course that does not then explain just why the nation has never had a single election on any level without a major snafu. Asked what recourse would be had he said the affected barangays would simply hold balloting on the following day, Tuesday, October 26.

As it turned out however, the Commissioner was wrong. It was not 20% of Visays and Mindanao that was affected by delays and other time consuming errors but the ENTIRE NATION.

On Sunday, October 24, 2010 in Sitio Sayon, Barangay Mahayahay, Lingig, Surigao del Sur, whose incumbent mayoral candidate had an unfortunate run-in with the NPA leading up to the National Election last spring, has been beset with yet another case of politically connected violence.Just before 9PM that evening several gunmen kicked in the door to Eduardo Tacder's home. The 48 year old candidate for Barangay Captain was then shot several times in the head by various firearms. Amazingly he was not killed on the spot but died very soon afterwards as lovedones were rushing him to the nearest hospital in Bislig City.

That same evening, October 24, 2010 in Barangay Poblacion, San Miguel, Surigao del Sur, Barangay Councilor Valentin Campos was standing outside his house talking to supporters when a man standing next to him suddenly took out a 45 pistol and shot him several times in the face, killing him instantly. The man then calmly walked away.

Earlier that day, in Bariras, Maguindanao Province the town's Vice Mayor Alex Tomawis was found to have Ballot Boxes from a town barangay as well as from a barangay in the nearby town of Buldon when soldiers stopped his pick up truck at a check point on Crossing Bariras-Parang Road.Upon interrogation Tomawis revealed that the Ballot Boxes were from barangays where Clansmen were running, so that he had planned to stuff them with Ballots , throwing the Election in his Clan's favour. tomawis had been caught doing this same thing just a few months earlier for the National Elections,on May, 10, 2010,where he himself had been running for Vice Mayor. the 2 recovered Boxes were then given to Bariras' COMELEC Officer who also happens to be a clansman but"demz' the rules."

On the day of the actual Election, Monday, October 25, Maimbung, Jolo Island, Sulu Province a rifle grenade was fired into a crows of voters critically wounding a 10 year old girl. Amazingly voting continued however until it was stopped at noon due to increasing attacks between supporters of two particular candidates for Barangay Captain. Normally this would not cause an entire town to be declared a "Failed Election" but when precincts are clustered as they usually are nowadays they are all, obviously, located in 1 central area.

Violence between candidates from just a single brangay can cause an entire large sized town like Maimbung to fail. Maimbung of course is wracked by violence all through the year above and beyong the ASG and MNLF insurgency related violence the entire island suffers from. The reason of course is the rido involving Gov.Abdulsakur"Sakur"Tan, which I chronicled in my entry regarding the National Election last May 10 (2010).

Also that day,at the Provincial Capitol Building in Patikul,where tabulation had begun for barangays in the town of Indanan,on that same island,Jolo.When a melee broke out between the supporters of rival candidates for Barangay Captain for Barangay Tagbak,candidate Darwisa Kadji Jakiram was pushed hard against a wall causing 1 of her"bodyguards,"Rajam Abdulla to pull out his 45 (Gun Ban did you say?Cough...) and fired off some"warning shots."Seeing as how this was,as I did say,INSIDE a building the gunshots managed to turn a"melee"into a stampede.During that pleasant interlude 1 of the Ballot Boxes for said barangay disappeared.

COMELEC in its infinite wisdom opted NOT to declare a Failed Election (so what if 50 percent of a barangay's votes are lost,so what if half the voters in a barangay are now disenfranchised,none of THAT matters when you are trying to minimise budgetary expidentures and simeltaneously trying to deflect attention away from a terribly failed departamental policy like the Gun Ban).

That same day, Election Day, October 25, 2010 Sarangani Province, a province created relatively recently out of South Cotabato Province and still only having a handful of municipalities, along with GenSan (General Santos City) was beset by BEI Tabulators (Board of Election Inspectors) who refused to show commence voting in the face of several area fire fights between opposing candidates. As mandated by the Omnibus Election Code BEIs, unless otherwise specified by COMELEC, tha national electoral authority, are always public school teachers. Indeed, even when COMELEC deploys PNP (Philippine National Ppolice) or its own staff (as in the case last National Election, May 10, 2010, when COMELEC deployed its own attorneys) public school teachers are still required by law to show up for their mandatory electoral duty.

Understandably this rubs a whole lot of under paid teachers the wrong way even without the requisite extreme violence that often accompanies Philippine Elections on any level. This year, according to official statistics provided by NEMAC (National Election Monitoring and Action Center), in the official Barangay/SK E;ection Season (September 25 through October 25, thus far, because indeed it continues for some time afterward), there have been 39 killings and 14 serious woundings by gunfire all related to the Banrangay/SK Elections. As always however these numbers are not even worth considering since Western Mindanao alone has had more killings than that number given for the entire nation.

Re the COMELEC"Gun Ban," there have been 671 people arrested with 558 weapons vouch safed for the entire nation. Again a ridiculous number and all the more so when one realises that the percentage actually prosecuted for violating the Ban remains in the single digits due to a very short window of prosecution, most arrests taking place on weekends when most municipalities have noone on duty to process an arrestee, etc.

Those who followed my entries on the National Election may remember that the same thing happened then and in fact always does, Of course it does not take a Rocket Scientist to understand that tyhe government has a vested interest in downplaying violence of all kinds but especially that associated with the most basic of civic functions. If the Electoral System is this screwed up what does it say for the rest of the national government?

The Departmen of Education for the first time seems to be supporting its employees and its Secretary, Brother Armin Luistro has taken it upon himself to suspend classes for the following day, Tuesday, October 26. Later on the 26th he extended it through the next day, Wednesday, October 27 giving public school teachers (most anyway) a much needed rest. He then went further and gave Regional Departments the carte blanche to give their staff off Thursday, October 28 in those locales where Elections were delayed. Sec.Luisitro also gave private schools that served as polling centers the leeway to likewise suspend classes as well, at the discretion of each school's administration.

Teachers were originally slated to receive 1,000 Pesos for the entire day, which is extremely good pay for a single day's work in the Philippines, equal to roughly 17 US Dollars in a nation where most workers exist on less than 3.50 US per day for manual labour. However, when one takes the violence and sheer terror involved, COMELEC was absolutely correect to increase renumeration to 2,000 Pesos (34 US). COMELEC personnel admit that there is an increasing chorus of voices demanding that the figure be raised to 4,000 Pesos, a months wages for most labourers and Commissioner Larrazabal, who gave us the rpediction on delayed balloting, at least admits that there is indeed a precedent for such a raise but that it is up to COMELEC Chairman Jose Melo to help realise the increase. Larrazabal says that Melo and Secretary of Education Brother Armin Luistro have been in contact with Senator Butch abad about making it so.

The"precendet"Larrazabal was talking about took place in the 2007 National Elections when teachers slash BEIs received a higher than schedualed renumeration.

Just after the Election COMELEC announced that of the 78 OFFICIAL ERIs (Election Related Incidents, aka Election Violence),80% were outside EWAs (Election Watchlist Areas aka "Hot Spots). It is an interesting factoid but doesnt prove much. intuitively perhapas a person would posit that extra security and forethought doles out to EWAs would have curtailed most violence within those areas. Counter-intuitively however not much extra preparation is given to EWAs. when an actual case of violence does take place the authorities, in this case the LGUs (Local Govt.Units aka municipalities), PNP and AFP deploy reserve forces to hold a tight cordon (perimeter) around the affected municiaplity or barangay. So, what does this announcement truly mean? EWAs themselves are useless accept for collation of incidents past and present. THE ENTIRE NATION IS AN EWA.

Election Day didn't work out too well for political aficionado Tatang Asiapal,a former Barangay Captain as well as a losing candidate for Vice Govenor on the island of Basilan was walking with a friend that morning on their way to the polling site for their barangay,Tongsengal when they were both ambushed and shot to death.
In Basilan's Isabela City nearly a dozen city barangays nearly caught a declaration of failure over the scarcity of COMELEC Blue Books.The books contain the name and pedigree of every voter in a given municipal unit.Voting,which takes place between 7AM and 3PM often didn't begin until way after 11AM because the books,which are used to check voter elibigilities as a sort of master list,etc.Because there were no book desperate calls had to be made to Manila where COMELEC staffers had to send fascimilies to affected voting precincts.So you ask,what actually happened to those missing Blue Books?COMELEC officials,those paragons of humanity,sold them to candidates for 500 Pesos per book.

Across the isthmus on the Zamboanga Peninsula,in Barangay Payongan,Alicea,Zamboanga Sibugay Province,that same morning saw 36 year old farmer Patricio Entero Ardiente shot multiple times across his face and chest when Congcong Hinaky,whose father is running for Barangay Captain in Barangay Payongan waylaid Ardiente.

Elsewhere in Zamboanga Sibugay,in Barangay Sandok Kumot in the town of Mabuhay,armed supporters of a local candidate held a tight cordon over most of the barangay preventing voters from leaving their homes.

On Election Day, in Cotabato City in North Cotabato Province an IED was discovered just after polls closed and was recovered by a 6ID EOD (Explosives and Ordnance Disposal) detachment safely without casualties. Later that evening however, in Barangay Poblacion #1, at Marquez Elementary School, as BEIs were tabulating ballots a disgruntled person tossed a frag grenade into the school's compound. Luckily noone was hurt and to show just how commonplace such violence is, very sadly, tabulation only stopped for about 15 minutes and then continued unabated, business as usual.

ARMM, the Autonomous Region of Muslim Mindanao was a bit more problematic, as it always is. 2 men stabbed each other from rival camps, there were 2 separate grenade attacks, 1 of which was with a frag-grenade, and ballots were snatched. ARMM incidents, in this entry, are being presented apart from localised reports by sources other than ARMM Provincial Police. ARMM of course includes the afore mentioned Cotabato City (but not its province, North Cotabato, along with the provinces of Sulu, Basilan (except Isabela City, the provincial capitol), Maguindanao, Sultan Kudarat, and Lanao del Sur including its capitol of Marawai City). Trying to discern what is and what is not ARMM provenance can be maddening for someone not fully versed with local mores and for the sake of brevity I felt it better to report ARMM reported incidents as such as opposed to listing them by province and municipal locale.

Lanao del Norte had melees break aout in 7 barangays amongst 3 adjoining municipalities, Munai, Poona Piagapo and Sapad.

Lanao del Sur had Failed Elections declared in 3 municipalities:Tamparan,Tugaya and Butig due to shooting incidents endangering BEIs.

Sultan Kudarat Province had riots break out in 2 barangays in Lambayan. Baragays Sadsalong and Udtong had rival camps in both battling it out for most of the day on Election Day.Sadsalong BEIs fled their posts when the guns came out while BEIS in Udtog desperately appealed for help from the municipal PNP when gunmen stopped shooting each other and turned weapons on the poll site, taking potshots at the exterior. Lambayan PNP then set out to rescue the 21 BEIs (between both barangays) with 2 municipal dumptrucks taking the place of APCs (Armoured Personnel Carriers). As they set off into the bush the trucks were stalled at a raging creek, as most bodies of running water are dangerously flooded all through monsoon (rainy season). PNP called to the BEIs via cell phone advising them to flee if possible and take cover where they could find it. Is it any wonder then that teachers are refusing to serve in this capacity?

The Election wasnt all blood and gore. Late in the evening in Barangay#8, Dapa, Siargao Island, Surigao del Norte incumbent candidate for Barangay Captain, Apple Tiu and sole challenger Godofredo Sajol ended up dead even. After a re-count confirmed the tie they allowed the Dapa's COMELEC Officer to settle the contest with the toss of a coin. Unbeknownst to most Filipinos the Omnibus Election Code, the set of laws dealing with Philippine Elections, allows for a coin toss in such circumstances. Sajiol ended up winning and offered a cute soundbite,"This is destiny...Thanks God!"

Quite possibly taking a cue from the incident a single town in the northern part ofthe nation had 3 barangays where a coin toss was used, a day after the Election.

Election Day in Ozamiz City, Misamis Occidental Province saw a local political icon climb back up on that"horse"after stumbling for a few seconds during the last National Election.Reynaldo"Aldong"Parojinog Sr. was a 3rd term mayor of the city when he was defeated in a run for his district's Congressional Seat. What would have been a shoo in in most any National Election turned into Parojinog's worst nightmare when his arch nemeis and equally powerful local icon, the then 3rd term Governor Loreto Leo Ocampos also set his eyes on that prize. Ocampos won,leaving Parojinog without an office though his daughter Nova Parojinog Echavez did assume his position as mayor of Ozamiz.

It didnt take long for Parojinog to take inventory and try to gain another foothold on power with the next Barangay Election (October 25,2010). Running as Barangay Captain for his home baranagy, Santa Cruz, he easily took the Election. Just after winning, before even throwing his obligatory party, he announced that he was now running for the Chairmanship of the Liga ng mga Barangay, or as it is usually known, the "ABC."The ABC, or,"Association of Barangay Councils" is comprised of Barangay Captains from every barangay in a given municipality. The chairman wields considerably more power than a single Barangay Captain would because he is given a a Seat on the Municipal Council, ex oficio. If the Chairman is in the province's major population centre, as the Chairman of Ozamiz City's ABC is, he or she then runs a very good chance of assuming the Chairmanship of the Provincial ABC which is itself made up of ABC Chairmen from every municipality within a given province. Likewise they are also given a seat ex oficio on the SP, the Provincial Council.

Just after holding his celebratory dinner on the 26th, he held a second, even grander party for all the city's Barangay Captains, as well as the SK Captains whom were invited one assumes to offer the appearance of propiety. Of Ozamiz City's 51 Barangay Captains, 46 showed up showing that the Chairmanship on the Municipal ABC is all but assured for Parojinog. A momentary stumble indeed, but perhaps a great illustration of just how driven and focused the man is. Officially the party was held by his daughter, the newly elected mayor but noone in attendance had any doubt as to who is running the whow, both in the city and at the seat of honour at the soire.

Parojinog entered politics in 1997 to serve as a District Leader for then Mayor Benjamin Fuentes. In 2001 he assumed the mayoralty of Ozamiz City, succeeding his mentor. He was made District Leader by Fuentes based upon Fuentes' association with a Force Multiplication organisation, Kuratong Baleleng (the"Kuratong"is an indigenous instrument akin to a bell or a gong but made from bamboo and used as an early warning system by viallges to alert residents of danger."Baleleng"doesnt translate well into English but basicaly means"Attractive"or"Irresistable."). The"KB"was founded by Parojinog's own father, Octavio"Ongkoy"Parojinog,who was an associate of Benjamin Fuentes until Ongkoy was assasinated by AFP NCOs at a local Cock Fighting stadium. Ongkoy's elder son Renato,"Nato,became the group's new"Chairman,"while Fuentes began grooming Reynaldo to assume the position of district Leader.

"Force Multiplication"as I have discussed in other entires is a doctrine that promotes the utilisation of community based organisations to assist in COIN (Counterinsurgency Warfare). Like all other Force Multiplication entities the KB was fiercely anti-Communist and as is often the case the world over unsavoury,anti-social types were often attracted to the organisation. for the sake of brevity I will not digress (much) in outlining the group, just to say that it was founded in 1986 by the elder Parojinog, the late"Ongkoy."Quickly coming to the attentions of the 4ID,who saw the potential in the organisation,it was sublimated to the 101IB within its first year of existence.

By 1994 however the heyday of the NPA had passed and the AFP began sharing less and less assets with the KB. More anti-social elements within the organisation reverted to form and the group quickly bacme associated in the minds of the public (and files of authorities, especially IS-AFP, Military Intel) with organised crime,a la the American"Mafia."Nato entered politics as well and was sitting as a Provincial Councilor when he was assinated in 2002.Philippine Libel Laws being what they are, I have to interject the word,"ALLEGEDLY" when I say that Reynaldo then assumed "Chairmanship"of the KB which he retains until the present.

On Tuesday, October 26, at 130AM,just after electoral results had been announced in Barangay Gocotan, Pikit, North Cotabato Province a losing candidate and his supporters burned down 2 buildings at Gocatan Elemtnary School, the polling site for that area. 5 classrooms were throughly destroyed, including classrooms that assuredly served that candidate's family members. The winner, Mustapha Aliman had beaten 3 of his competitors but PNP, as always, refuses to go after the guilty party. Gunmen from all 4 camps had been around the school the entire day and one would have thought that the AFP and PNP between them, even without the Gun Ban, would have had enough foresigghht to diffuse a certain, impending act of violence. Of course they did not. Theother 3 candidates were: Nok Pabalua, Russel Pendatun and Bernie Mandalait.

1 small bright note, Senator Manuel"Lito"Lapid ispushing SB (Senate Bill)#2525 which seeks to increase the penalties for election related violence. Currently the penalty ranges from 1 to 6 years under the Election Omnibus Code.Sen.Lapid's Bill would increase incarceration to 12 to 20 years but adds the additional penalty of up to 500,000 Pesos liability for the party or political entity to which the actor belongs.

The person who probablly had the worst time this Election Season is COMELEC Commissioner Jose Melo.On Monday, November 01, 2010 Melo announced he will be resigning in December this year, 3 years early so as to take,"Early Retirement,"a euphanism for,"the buck stops here."

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