Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Grenade Explosion Mars Casting of Votes in Camarines Norte

CAMP ELIAS ANGELES, Pili, CamSur – Unidentified men lobbed a grenade at a school building used as a polling center in Camarines Norte at around 1:45am today, a military report said.

Major Harold M Cabunoc, 9th ID Spokesman, said that some people were still casting their votes in Necio-Olila Elementary School located in a remote village of Ubang, Capalonga, Camarines Norte, when the grenade explosion rocked the polling center, causing panic and fear among the voters and poll watchers.

Cabunoc said that a certain Alvin Ibasco, 27, suffered shrapnel wounds on his leg as a result of the said explosion. The victim was immediately rushed to a local clinic for first aid treatment and is declared by attending physicians as ‘in good health condition’.

The grenade attack followed the growing anger among the voters who patiently waited until in the wee hours in the morning to cast their votes. The delay of the casting of votes was apparently caused by some defects of the voting machines.

Col Cirilo Teodoro Torralba, Commander of the 902nd Brigade which has jurisdiction over Camarines Norte, immediately dispatched a squad of Army soldiers to augment the police investigators under PSI Juancho Ibis in order to reinforce the detailed security forces in the said polling center.

After the arrival of the additional security forces, the voters were pacified and the casting of votes continued until its conclusion at about 3:00am. Moments later, the voting results were successfully transmitted to the Municipal Board of Canvassers.

Several PCOS machines met some technical problems causing further delays in the casting of votes in many polling centers around Bicol Region.

Based on field reports compiled by Task Group H.O.P.E. Bicol, a total of 26 voting machines from three provinces malfunctioned during yesterday’s casting of ballots.

Masbate topped the list of PCOS machine malfunctions with 14, followed by Camarines Sur and Sorsogon with 9 and 3, respectively. There are no data yet on the status of PCOS machines from the other 3 provinces.

Major General Ruperto Pabustan, Commander of the 9th Infantry Division said that the casting of votes in Bicol Region was generally peaceful due to the effective security patrols conducted by the Philippine Army and the PNP.

“I am proud that the Army personnel under my command has contributed immensely towards the success of this historic automated elections. Our forces will remain in their respective deployment areas until such time that the winning candidates are already proclaimed and when the over-all situation goes back to normal,” said Pabustan

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