33 persons killed in suspected election-related incidents: Albayalde
The Philippine National Police said 33 persons have been killed in the runup to the Barangay and Sangguniang Kabataan elections, but only seven are confirmed as election-related.
In an interview Monday, PNP Director General Oscar Albayalde said these seven incidents are "confirmed election-related" but since these incidents happened during the election period "they are all suspected election-related violent incidents unless otherwise proven."
Albayalde said 19 were injured and 22 unharmed, bringing the total of incidents to 74. "We have identified 28 suspects but all are at large. Seventy-five are unidentified, six have been arrested and nine have been released, so have a total of 118 suspects," he said.
"This is lower compared to the 2013 election of 109 victims and 57 incidents," he said.
He said the ambush on Vicente Loot, mayor of Daanbantayan, Cebu, is being investigated while police are looking at two persons of interest in the death of former La Union congressman Eufranio Eriguel in Agoo.
Loot and Eriguel were in the list of politicians unveiled by President Rodrigo Duterte in 2016 said involved in illegal drugs.
"The (Central Visyas) regional director said Loot was given additional security and his family. The investigation is still going on. We cannot establish the motive or if this is an ambush me case," said Albayalde. He added a special task group was formed by Chief Superintendent Romeo Sapitula, Ilocos regional police director, on the Eriguel case.
He said the police will still monitor incidents for seven days.
Albayalde said the PNP is doing everything to make the polls as possible.
He said vote buying reports are "frightening." "We cannot deny that many are complaining from left and right. This is a perennial problem," he said. Albayalde said a case was filed against alleged vote buying activities in Lucena. DMS