COTABATO CITY, Philippines – The Philippine National Police (PNP) noted that the twin explosion at a compound of Judge Angelito Rasalan in Barangay Rosary Heights on the eve of the plebiscite for the Bangsamoro Organic Law (BOL) could be a terror attack or because of personal grudge.
“Possible na something personal. And the other thing is, pwedeng parang manakot, hindi natin pwede masabing hindi rin terrorist group. Granada or probably IED pero hindi natin dini-discount ang possibility na member ng isang terrorist group,” noted PNP Chief DG Oscar Albayalde.
On the day of the plebiscite on Monday (January 21), tension sparked at Cotabato City Institute after two alleged flying voters were mauled by residents. One of them escaped.
The alleged flying voter was identified as Yasser Zacaria who denied the accusations and claimed that he was a registered voter in the area.
Cotabato City Mayor Frances Cynthia-Guiayani-Sayadi was on site to address the voters’ concerns.
A voter approached the Mayor reporting a plebiscite committee member as altering his vote from ‘no’ to ‘yes’ in his ballot.
The said plebiscite member claimed she assisted the voter who was unable to read and write.
“Kanina noong naisulat na noong ilalagay pa lang, hindi na siya nag-complain. Hindi siya nagsabi sa akin,” the plebiscite committee member said.
“You are supposed to be members kayo ng board,” Mayor Sayadi said.
Meanwhile at Rojas National High School, an unexploded grenade was found in front of the school gate to which authorities immediately responded and promptly defused it.
At Canizares National High School, several teachers withdrew from their duties as plebiscite committee members, prompting military personnel to take over.
According to Comelec Regional Office in the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM), 24 out of 327 precincts started the voting later than scheduled.
The Comelec vowed to investigate all incidents that hampered the voting process particularly the allegations of flying voters in Cotabato City Institute and the issue of vote switching.
“Kung flying voters iyan, o nasa listahan natin, or she or he has the right to vote…we have to inquire on that,” explained Atty. Ray Sumalipao, the Comelec ARMM Regional Director.
“It’s the people who called them flying voters. We don’t know for sure yet if they are flying voter. From all the reports I’ve heard, it is basically people saying “We don’t know these people.” Therefore, they are flying voters, and they ganged up on them,” noted Director James Jimenez. – Marje Pelayo (with reports from Nel Maribojoc)