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Comelec says polls generally peaceful

Posted on May 14, 2013

MINOR COUNTING machine glitches, isolated power outages and several violent incidents marked yesterday’s midterm elections but officials said the exercise, where Filipinos chose a new Congress and local officials, was generally peaceful.

Sixto S. Brillantes, Jr., chairman of the Commission on Elections (Comelec), said he expected "at least 70%" turnout of the 52,014,648 registered voters.

Local proclamations should be expected as early as 12 midnight, while "substantial" results for national level posts could be released this morning, Mr. Brillantes said.

The Comelec chief said he hoped all 12 elected senators would be proclaimed by Wednesday evening.

That for party-list representatives, however, might take a little longer as "counting of votes involve some computation."

Overall, "the elections went well although there were minor glitches reported in some PCOS (precinct count optical scan) machines," Mr. Brillantes said.

The malfunctions included ballot-feeding/reading problems and outright machine failures, but officials said these were not expected to affect overall results.

Power outages in some areas were reported but voting continued once the electricity came back, officials also said.

"These were isolated incidents. It’s not [a] supply problem or power generation deficiency," said Irma C. Exconde, assistant director of the Energy department’s Electric Power Industry Management Bureau.

Ms. Exconde said the power disruptions, which she described as "normal" for the system, ranged from two seconds to as much as two hours.

Meanwhile, at least seven people were killed while a presidential aide survived an ambush, authorities said.

In the most violent incident, supporters of rival candidates for mayor on a small southern island in the Sulu archipelago opened fire on each other, leaving three combatants dead,.

Unidentified gunmen opened fire on a vehicle carrying voters on the nearby island of Jolo, killing the driver and wounding four passengers. Three supporters of a local candidate were killed and eight wounded by unidentified gunmen in another attack in Zamboanga del Sur.

President Benigno S. C. Aquino III’s political adviser, Manuel N. Mamba, escaped unharmed after his convoy was attacked in the northern town of Alcala, presidential spokesman Ramon "Ricky" A. Carandang said.

He said Mr. Mamba was in the area to support a brother who was a candidate for provincial governor under Mr. Aquino’s Liberal Party.

More than 60 people had already been killed in the lead-up to the elections, in which some 18,000 positions -- from town mayors and provincial governors to members of Congress -- are being contested. -- with a report from AFP