By JUSTIN UMALI
SANTA CRUZ, Laguna – Initial reports from election watchdog Kontra Daya Southern Tagalog stated that there have been at least 135 cases of electoral anomalies within the region, mostly from Laguna province.
According to the group, most irregularities stem from system errors and mechanical failures from the vote counting machines (VCM). In some instances, voters have been waiting over four hours since 6 a.m. in order to vote.
Instances of vote buying and campaigning are also rampant in the region, according to reports collated on the ground. In at least one instance in Los Baños, Laguna, a local candidate was found playing campaign jingles near the polling place.
Other examples of illegal campaigning include the distribution of sample ballots and other election paraphernalia inside and around the polling areas.
Police and military presence also remains rampant in polling places across the region. In some parts of Quezon province, particularly Dolores, Sariaya, Tayabas and Lucena, policemen were found stationed inside the polling place. In Laguna, police were spotted manning a voters’ assistance desk outside Pulo Elementary School in Cabuyao.
According to Commission on Elections (Comelec) guidelines, state forces must be at least 30 meters away from any polling precinct unless their presence is specifically requested.
Kontra Daya ST also noted that red-tagging of the progressive Makabayan bloc also remains rampant during the voting period. Reports range from flyers being distributed claiming that party lists belonging to the Makabayan bloc have been disqualified, to tarpaulins posted in polling places stating that said organizations are affiliated with the revolutionary Communist Party of the Philippines.
Facebook messages are also being circulated red-tagging not only Makabayan but also partylists endorsing presidential candidate Leni Robredo.
Kontra Daya ST is currently still collating reports as they arrive. The group is encouraging all citizens to forward their complaints through their hotline numbers 09950990919 (Globe) or 09079416036 (TNT), through its social media channels (fb.com/KontraDayaST and @KontraDayaST on Twitter) or through its online complaint form at https://tinyurl.com/KontraDayaST2022. (RVO)