THE COMMISSION on Elections (Comelec) and security forces are in their final preparations for the May 24 special elections in 14 villages across three towns in Lanao del Sur province, an election commissioner said on Sunday. 

A failure of election was declared on May 11, two days after the national and local polls, in the 14 barangays in Binidayan, Butig, and Tubaran due to violent and irregular incidents.  

“Comelec is definitely ready, the Armed Forces of the Philippines, Philippine National Police, and the Philippine Coast Guard are coordinating with us,” Election Commissioner George Erwin M. Garcia said in an interview over DZBB.  

He added that police officers will watch over the 14 voting precincts in the province to ensure security.  

Last Wednesday, Comelec proclaimed the winning senators for this year’s elections but postponed the proclamation of some party-list winners initially set last Thursday.  

With 172 out of 173 certificates of canvass completed, Lanao del Sur is the only area left to count as part of the official tally for this year’s senatorial and partylist race.  

The election body found that votes from the barangays in Lanao del Sur could still affect the outcome of the party-list race.  

Mr. Garcia noted that about 9,000 voters will participate in the special polls in the town of Tubaran, which had 11,557 registered voters.  

Butig and Binidayan will only account for 6,291 votes.  

Before the May 9 elections, the towns of Tubaran, Malabang, Maguing, and Marawi City in Lanao del Sur were placed under Comelec control.  

Meanwhile, Mr. Garcia told Teleradyo on Sunday that Comelec is also looking into the disposal of training ballots at a site in Cavite City. 

“We are just finding out why our provider also brought those ballots from Tondo Manila to Cavite,” Mr. Garcia said.  

The training ballots used in preparation for this year’s elections should have been kept by electoral board members, he added. 

This years elections saw the highest voter turnout in Philippine history at 83% of the more than 67.418 million registered voters, according to Comelec. John Victor D. Ordoñez