Shootings, gun ban violations mar start of poll period


MANILA — The Philippine National Police (PNP) reported four incidents in line with the start of the Barangay and Sangguniang Kabataan election season.

These incidents were reported in Cavite, Romblon, Bulacan and Negros Occidental, PNP spokesman Chief Supt. John Bulalacao said in a statement Sunday.

Leonilo Arbonido, 59, chairman of Barangay Julugan 6 in Tanza, Cavite was gunned down by motorcycle-riding suspects on Saturday. Arbonido was rushed to the Emilio Aguinaldo Memorial Hospital but died while undergoing treatment.

Also on Sunday, Themistocles Sulat was reportedly shot by a barangay kagawad, Richie Malicse, with a rifle in Barangay Busay, San Jose, Romblon. The victim was declared dead on arrival at the hospital.

In Bulacan, a businessman was arrested for alleged possession of firearm in violation of the election gun ban.

In Police Regional Office 6 Office, there was a reported “bumping” of a Commission on Elections (Comelec) checkpoint and the arrest of one male suspect and the confiscation of one revolver thru Oplan Bakal at Barangay Zone 4, Cadiz City, Negros Occidental.

The PNP is closely coordinating with its military counterparts through the Joint Security Control Center (JSCC) mechanism for the joint conduct of checkpoints.

Out of the 5,744 election watchlist areas (EWAs) in the country, 3,448 barangays were identified as having intense rivalry between candidates, history of election-related violence, armed threats and partisan armed groups (PAGs).

Meanwhile, 2,025 barangays also have intense rivalry between candidates, history of election related violence, PAGs but no armed threats.

The remaining 271 barangays are classified as highly-critical areas where loose firearms and criminal gangs are prevalent.

Bicol Region has the highest number of EWAs followed by the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao. Benjamin Pulta/