MANILA, May 13 (Mabuhay)– Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) Secretary Eduardo Año said there are no reports of politicians or local government unit (LGU) officials paying permits to campaign fees or any form of aid to terrorist groups such as the Communist Party of the Philippines-New People’s Army-National Democratic Front (CPP-NPA-NDF) in this elections.

“Marereport po natin Mr. President na sa mga permit to campaign na inilabas ng NPA ay wala tayong namonitor na mga politicians na pumatol dito, nagbigay ng pera o resources sa CPP-NPA (We report Mr. President that we have not monitored any politician giving money or resources as permit to campaign against the CPP-NPA),” Año told President Rodrigo Duterte in a pre-recorded Talk to the People on Thursday.

He said the DILG will file the appropriate charges against personalities violating Republic Act 10168, otherwise known as the “Terrorism Financing Prevention and Suppression Act of 2012”, which is also a violation of Section 261 of the Omnibus Election Code and Article 137 of the Revised Penal Code or the Disloyalty of Public Officers.

Section 4 of Republic Act 10168 states that any person who finances terrorist groups to carry out or facilitate the commission of any terrorist act, by a terrorist organization, association or group, or by an individual terrorist, shall be guilty of the crime of financing terrorism.

Meanwhile, Año maintained that the conduct of the May 9, 2022 polls was generally peaceful in comparison with the 2010 and 2016 national and local elections.

In the chart presented to the President, it showed that there were 166 validated election-related incidents (ERIs) in 2010, 133 (ERIs) in 2016, and only 16 ERIs in 2022.

To sum it up from Jan. 9 to May 9, 2022, Año said the reported ERIs happened in Regions 1 (Ilocos Region), 5 (Bicol region), 3 (Central Luzon), 9 (Zamboanga Peninsula), 10 (Northern Mindanao) and the Cordillera Administrative Region (CAR).

As of May 9, Año reported seven deaths and 33 injured persons in 27 violent election-related incidents.

He added that on the day of the election, authorities registered 27 incidents including 11 shooting/mauling incidents, three explosions, two ballot snatchings, four commotions, three assaults, two strafings, and two destructions of vote-counting machines.

The DILG chief noted that the shooting incidents occurred in Albay, Negros Oriental, Basilan, Zamboanga del Norte and Cotabato City, Maguindanao, and in Lanao del Sur.

Grenade explosions also happened twice in Maguindanao and once in Cotabato, while ballot snatching incidents occurred in Lanao del Sur and Basilan, according to Año.

He also disclosed that instances of commotion transpired in Maguindanao, Camarines Sur, Lanao and Tawi-Tawi, while physical assault inside the polling precincts were reported in Batangas, Maguindanao and Abra with strafing incidents occurring twice in Basilan.

Año also noted that the destruction of vote counting machines were reported in Lanao del Sur.

However, he maintained that only six of these violent incidents were election-related after validation.

In the same briefing, Año also reported that a total of 41 violators were involved in vote-buying incidents recorded from Jan. 1 to May 9, 2022.

He said cases of the four vote-buying suspects were referred to the Prosecutors’ Office while one was subjected to direct filing.

Short of saying that no violators are off-the-hook with the conclusion of the elections, Año warned that the DILG, together with other authorities, will continue to run after the vote-buying suspects with 20 other similar election violation complaints are currently being thoroughly investigated.

Among those allegedly involved in the vote-buying incidents include 32 civilians, one government employee, one barangay kagawad, three barangay captains, one political candidate, and three unidentified violators.

He noted that 28 vote-buying violators were nabbed while 13 others remain at large.

Meanwhile, Año reminded the public that enforcement of the gun ban is still in effect until June 8.

He said authorities arrested 3,191 violators in the recorded 3,004 gun ban violations while 2,475 firearms and 1,151 deadly weapons were confiscated.

With regards to the community health protocols, the DILG chief said a 5.52 percent increase in the number of face mask violators with the number reaching 31,819, while 2,098 physical distancing offenders were recorded for a 24.21 percent rise from Jan. 1 to May 9.

There were no recorded mass gathering incident during the period.

On the other hand, Año said that even during the election campaign period, authorities continue its anti-illegal drug campaign with 795 suspects arrested in 566 conducted drug operations, 397 of which were buy-busts from May 1 to 9.

During the said period, the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA), the Philippine National Police (PNP), and other anti-narcotics authorities confiscated some 10.52 kilograms of shabu and 43.74 kilograms of marijuana worth PHP76,830,836.40. There were also 14 drug suspects who surrendered while one fatality was recorded. (MNS)

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