Philippines Presidential Election: Live Updates
MANILA — Election violence erupted in the Philippines over the weekend and Monday after a shootout between two groups linked to rivals for the mayorship left four people dead and a grenade attack injured nine others.
The shooting occurred in the northern province of Ilocos Sur on Sunday. Separately, local police in the southern town of Maguindanao said five rounds of grenades were fired into a town hall, prompting an exchange of gunfire with police. In Lanao del Sur, videos on social media showed people storming a voting center to destroy ballots and machines. An election official said the government was investigating the episode.
Violence is common in elections in the Philippines, where the government on Monday deployed 270,000 police and military to thwart such attacks.
Tight security was apparent at elementary schools converted into polling stations, and there were reports of broken voting machines and some voters having difficulty locating their names on voter rolls. At a press conference, Marlon Casquejo, an election official, said the government had counted 143 faulty machines across the country. He said these were mostly “isolated incidents” and blamed the old equipment for the problem.
Later that day, George Garcia, the Elections Commissioner, said more than 1,800 voting machines had malfunctioned and there were 1,100 backup machines across the country.
Analysts and election observers have described the race between Ferdinand Marcos Jr. and Leni Robredo, the vice president, as an existential battle for the soul of the country, with consequences that cannot be overstated.
Chester Cabalza, the founder of the Manila-based research institute International Development and Security Cooperation, said voting was not just about the next president, but “choosing between good governance in transparent government or continuity of leadership marred by lies and revised”. the story.”
Carl Merencillo, a Manila voter who works at a construction company, brought his wife and two young daughters to Ms. Robredo’s latest campaign rally in Manila’s financial district on Saturday. Mid-morning Monday, he voted for “hope,” he said.
“Certainly, it was for children. It was really a way for me to ensure that the future will be better for the children and their generation,” said Mr. Merencillo.
It took voters between 45 minutes and an hour to cast their ballots in a constituency outside Manila, as the line snaked for about a mile in the scorching tropical sun. Officials tried to enforce social distancing rules to prevent the spread of Covid-19, but voters were packed side by side at many polling stations.
Apart from the top job, thousands of local officials, mayors and senators are also running for office in the Philippines. There are more than 65 million registered voters in the country – a record – and poll workers said polling stations would be open until 7 p.m.