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By Inquirer MANILA, Philippines--Diosdado Macapagal spent his vice presidency campaigning non-stop, because President Carlos P. Garcia wouldn't give him a job. Back then, the basic unit of our government was the barrio, and Macapagal never hesitated to boast that he had visited nearly every barrio to shake hands with nearly every voter. To be sure, obsessive attention to voters, in retail and wholesale terms, is the mark of any successful politician. But Macapagal's personal touch proved incapable of overcoming the challenge mounted by Ferdinand E. Marcos, who believed above all else in the ability of political machinery to overcome all odds. Marcos renamed the barrio the "barangay," and this latter-day rajah ensured that the barrio captain of old would become the barangay chairman of today, the petty "datu" on whom money is periodically showered by Malacañang. Marcos distrusted the traditional party machines and wanted to build personal ties between his supreme chieftainship, and the village chiefs he created and made dependent on his good graces. It is no coincidence, then, that President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo governs with a combination of her father's retail obsession and Marcos' wholesale penchant for bribing all opposition into submission. She roams the country with her father's zeal and holds cash buffets in Malacañang in a truly Marcosian manner. At the apex of the patronage pyramid, she knows as well as her legionaries in the House of Representatives do, that the bedrock of their shared political machinery are barangay officials. Which is why the true story of the recently concluded barangay elections is that they were about cash, political infrastructure, or, put another way, providing for the future of the President and her people. By now we are reasonably certain that the congressmen and governors plied with cash in the Palace a few weeks ago were lining up for doles they could give out, in turn, to their barangay machinery. The supposedly nonpartisan nature of barangay governance be damned. It was payback time. The President owed the congressmen, who owed the barangay officials, in turn. All would pay their debts, since after all, payment would come in the form of public funds. To repeat: The barangay elections were a partisan exercise, with partisan goals in mind. Instead of giving adequate time for the reform of the obviously flawed and highly corrupt barangay system -- including, as we pointed out, the essentially useless, except for dynasty-building, Sangguniang Kabataan (Youth Council) -- the President solidly supported the insistence of the House of Representatives to go through with the elections, despite the Senate's initial reservations. Nothing would be allowed to delay the payback. The first dividends were immediately encashed by the President when she showed that more congressmen supported her than her erstwhile ally, Speaker Jose de Venecia. Then we saw it in the way governors tried to gang up on Pampanga province's Gov. Ed Panlilio, who exposed the cash distribution in the Palace. We will see in the coming months, the additional dividends the President expects to earn from her cash buffets, whether in terms of blocking a new impeachment effort or in simulating grassroots support for Charter change. Everything -- the lavish spending on posters, marching bands, motorcades, the violence and intimidation, the bribing of voters -- that has characterized the barangay polls is as nothing compared to what they represent. They are part of a continuing and increasingly brazen process of governing, not in the exercise of the will of the people, but according to the Golden Rule that whoever has the gold, makes the rules. With a new generation of young dynasts in the Sangguniang Kabataan, with their fathers, mothers, uncles and in-laws in more senior barangay positions, with the congressmen having paid off their local leaders' debts and by so doing, incurring new debts of gratitude and themselves grateful, in turn, to the President, everything is in place. Ritual calls for barangay reform will be made, and even if they have become an exercise in futility, we support those calls. However, we should all be aware that the entire political class benefited from this exercise, and this is what sets apart their interests from the broader public.
By Joey A. Gabieta, Edwin Fernandez, Charlie Señase Inquirer MANILA, Philippines--Two elected village chiefs were killed in separate incidents hours after voting ended in Monday's barangay (village) and Sangguniang Kabataan (Youth Council) elections, according to reports culled by INQUIRER.net. The latest reports have increased the number of cases of election-related violence to 50, police said. A Philippine Daily Inquirer report from Shariff Kabunsuan said that in Sultan Kudarat, Samsodin Lumbos, a newly proclaimed village chief of Balut, was shot to death by unidentified suspects late Monday. Another Inquirer report from Tacloban City said Marcos Anquillo, who was reelected village chief of Zone 3 and a village watchman, identified as Roger Reyes, were shot dead earlier on the same day. The Inquirer report from Shariff Kabunsuan quoted Superintendent Ismael Ali, Shariff Kabunsuan police director, as saying that Lumbos was killed near the Sultan Kudarat Municipal Hall around 11:30 p.m. Monday. "The victim had just been proclaimed winner defeating an administration candidate when he was shot dead in a dark portion near the municipal hall," Ali said. He said the incident was the second election-related killing in the province. On Oct. 18, reelectionist Senditan barangay chairman Hadji Akmad Abdullah and village councilor Monib Ali were killed in an ambush by unidentified gunmen.
By Veronica Uy, Thea Alberto INQUIRER.net MANILA, Philippines--Despite several incidents of election-related violence and failure of elections in some areas, the barangay (village) and Sangguniang Kabataan (Youth Council) elections were generally peaceful, poll and police officials said Monday. Philippine National Police Director General Avelino Razon Jr. said there were no major occurrences recorded in most of the 42,000 villages nationwide, as he called the elections the most peaceful in recent years. "The 2007 Barangay and Sangguniang Kabataan elections will probably go down in history as the most peaceful and widely participated electoral exercise in recent years," said Razon. Commission on Elections spokesman James Jimenez attributed the peaceful conduct of the polls to more attentive coverage from the media, the high visibility of police officers, and candidates' lack of money. Acting Comelec Chairman Resurreccion Borra said a total of 315 cases of election-related violence have been reported to their office and were being verified. He said these incidents included fistfights and did not exclusively involve firearms. Of this number, taken from the election period from September 29 up to 1 p.m. Monday, about 40 resulted in deaths. The PNP's count, said Razon, was 48 incidents of election-related violence --25 resulting in death and 28 in injuries -- from September 29 to October 29 in 42,000 villages around the country, compared to 159 incidents in 2002. Razon said that from 7 a.m. to the close of polling precincts at 3 p.m., there were only seven violent incident, including the killing of a village chief in Basilan and his companion. The latest PNP tally showed that five of those killed were candidates for village chief while two were running for village councilor. Seven of those killed were incumbent village officials. Four of those wounded were village chief candidates, it added. But Commissioner Rene Sarmiento and Chief Superintendent Silverio Alarcio, head of the Directorate for Operations, agreed that their figures were lower compared to the 158 or 159 election-related deaths in the barangay polls in 2002. "This is because 30 percent of the cases in the 2002 elections happened on Election Day itself," said Alarcio. But despite the generally peaceful assessment, this year's elections was not without its share of irregularities, with failure of elections being declared in some areas, poll and police officials said. Failure of elections was declared in the provinces of Sulu, Lanao, and Masbate, and in Pasay City, Comelec officials said. All in all, Chief Superintendent Silverio Alarcio, chief of the directorate for operations, said failure of elections was declared in 16 Lanao del Sur villages, seven in Sultan Dumalungdong town and nine in Luraba Kaugnayan. In Sulu City, failure of elections was declared in the villages of Kalinggalang Kalwang, Panddan, and Pang. Problems were also recorded in all barangay of Panglima Estino were also named, said Alarcio. In Shariff Kabunsuan, failure of elections was declared in Barangay Kidama, he added. Quoting lawyer Julie Vidzfar, Sulu election supervisor, Sarmiento said there were no elections in the whole town of Panglima Estina, after all members of the Board of Election Inspectors (BEI) failed to report; Sunugan and Panabuan villages in the town of Indanan, after the Department of Interior and Local Government refused to release ballot boxes; Tumtangis, Lambayong, and Sasak villages in the town of Indanan, after the BEIs delivered the official ballots to the wrong polling precincts; Barangay Tagbak, still in Indanan, after the BEIs and the military stopped voting due to violence; Barangay Liubud Pantao in the town of Talipao, where a police officer was gunned down; and in Barangay Tulayan, Capual, Angilan, and Lahing-Lahing in Luuk town, where all BEI members failed to report for work. Sarmiento supervised the elections in Ilocos Region, Cagayan Valley, Central Luzon, Zamboanga Peninsula, and Sulu province Borra, commissioner-in-charge of Metro Manila, Western and Eastern Visayas, and Lanao Del Norte, noted an upsurge of irregularities in the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao. "As in many places in ARMM," Borra said that in Marawi City the election officer and the municipal treasurer were reported missing, causing the non-distribution of election paraphernalia in the area. Borra said he ordered the field lawyer to arrest the two and to appoint the election assistant as the election officer to handle the distribution of the election materials. "As of 12 noon, the elections have started," he said. In Dumalondong, also in Lanao Del Norte, Borra said two groups had been firing at each other, causing even the military and the BEI members to withdraw from the area. Borra also noted the delayed start of voting in Marantao, and the absence of BEIs in some places in Masiu town. In Metro Manila, Borra said voting started late in Taguig where the BEIs were harassed while some Pasay voters were delisted, causing the BEIs to temporarily stop the voting after a mob had started to form. In Murcia town, Negros Occidental, Borra said two candidates had a shooting duel. Although neither one was hit, a stray bullet hit a passing motorcycle rider although he survived because the bullet hit his helmet. In Cebu City, there was a reported lack of ballots for the SK elections. Sarmiento said except for the relief of the chief of police of Dingras, Ilocos Norte, elections in Regions 1 and 2 were generally peaceful with no reports of delays or violence. It was not the same however for Nueva Ecija where a fire at 4 a.m. was reported in six classrooms in Pantabangan and a fistfight was reported in Bongabon, Sarmiento said. Sarmiento said that in Region 9, the BEIs in Barangay Tikala in Zamboanga Del Sur were fired upon by unknown groups. Unlike the May elections, May when Abra was on the list of election hot spots, Commissioner Romeo Brawner said it had been peaceful in the province except for one incident of indiscriminate firing in Bangued and the ambush of a candidate, where the suspect had been arrested. Lack of ballots was the problem in the Kalinga and Apayao provinces, said Brawner. This was resolved by using emergency ballots duly authenticated by the local Comelec officials and the local treasurers, he said. In Tawi-Tawi, rains and rough seas delayed the distribution of election materials. Commissioner Nicodemo Ferrer, in charge of Northern Mindanao, Caraga, and Basilan province, said there were lots of problems, especially in Basilan, where voting was delayed because of the exclusion of names on the voters' list. Ferrer, also in charge of the gun ban, said he would go after a gun dealer in San Carlos City, Pangasinan, who had a fake exemption. He promised to personally deal with the recidivist, who was caught last May for a similar offense. Razon has placed the 120,000-strong PNP on full alert to guard against fraud and violence. More than a million candidates are vying for nearly 672,000 posts in 42,000 barangay. Elected to three-year terms, they fill grass-roots posts in the country of 89 million people that range from overseeing garbage collection to weeding out suspected insurgents in their neighborhoods. President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo voted in her hometown in Pampanga province, north of Manila, waving and smiling to a small crowd. Her ousted predecessor, Joseph Estrada, whom she pardoned last week after his plunder conviction, voted in a suburban Manila school for the first time since regaining his freedom. Razon said troops were helping police secure the balloting in about 4,500 villages considered security hotspots due to the presence of communist or Muslim guerrillas or a history of intense political rivalries. Police were concerned that communist guerrillas could use force to ensure the victory of sympathetic candidates, Razon said. "Our intelligence assessment indicates a massive effort ... to field sympathetic candidates in the elections in order for the movement to regain lost ground," Razon said in a statement Sunday. He also said the PNP will remain on full alert, anticipating that the counting and proclamation of the winning candidates will be more crucial. "We are still on full alert to be able to maintain the situation," said Razon. "This is the phase that we guard the counting process, we guard Comelec officials, elections returns and safeguard election paraphernalia." Ahead of the voting, communist guerrillas abducted a candidate for village leader in Basey town in the central province of Samar. Elizabeth Gutierrez, who was kidnapped Wednesday, was running against a relative of a rebel commander, police said. A former rebel aspiring to become a village head was killed by suspected communist gunmen last Monday in Villareal town, also in Samar, about 600 kilometers (375 miles) southeast of Manila, police said. Arroyo has repeatedly said she wants to end the communist rebellion -- one of Asia's longest -- by 2010, when her term ends. The 6,200-strong rebels have been fighting for a Marxist state for 39 years and have stepped up raids on police and military outposts as well as commercial establishments in recent months. With a report from Associated Press
By Thea Alberto INQUIRER.net MANILA, Philippines--At least 43 cases of election-related violent incidents were listed by the Philippine National Police, with at least 23 persons killed and 20 others wounded as of 9 a.m. Monday. The updated tally showed that five of those killed were candidates for the village chief post while two were running as village councilors. Seven of those killed were incumbent village officials, according to the tally. Meanwhile, four of those wounded were village chief candidates. Chief Superintendent Silverio Alarcio, head of the Directorate for Operations, said this year's village elections were less violent compared to the one in 2002, when his office listed a total of 159 cases. Alarcio added however that the present number might still increase. "This is because 30 percent of the cases in the 2002 elections happened on Election Day itself," said Alarcio.
By Inquirer MANILA, Philippines--A Catholic prelate has appealed for more active participation in the upcoming barangay (village) and Sangguniang Kabataang (youth council) elections on October 29 as candidates' campaigning ends Saturday. In a statement, Catholic Bishops' Conference of the Philippines (CBCP) president Angel Lagdameo said that if the faithful could take interest in how their churches or parishes operate, they should similarly give the same attention to their villages. Lagdameo has also asked the faithful to consciously participate in the affairs of the villages since it serves as a breeding ground for future leaders. He stressed that the people should guard against partisanship in the elections to protect the village's role in providing for the common good. Beverly Natividad
By Nestor P. Burgos Jr. Inquirer ILOILO CITY, Philippines--An outgoing Sangguniang Kabataan (SK) chair was shot dead in her home in Lambunao town, Iloilo province, Tuesday evening, the first violent incident in the Visayas involving a youth council candidate less than a week before the barangay (village) and SK elections. Bona Marie Catedral, 22, died from a gunshot wound in the left chest after she was shot at close range at around 6:30 p.m. at her family's residence in Barangay Jayubo, 15 kilometers from the town proper. Lambunao is around 48 kilometers north of Iloilo City. The victim is the fourth of five children of Lambunao Vice Mayor Pancho Catedral. Her remains were brought to the Solano Funeral Homes in Lambunao. Investigators are still verifying reports that an unidentified gunman approached and shot the victim as she was about to close a window of their house. Senior Inspector Elmer Armada, Lambunao police chief, said they were still investigating the circumstances of the shooting. Armada would not confirm if politics was being eyed as angle in the shooting. He also refused to reveal the probable motives of the crime saying they were still in the early stage of their investigation.
By Tina Santos Inquirer MANILA, Philippines--While anti-government groups are trying to find ways to unseat President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo, activist priest Robert Reyes has chosen "exorcism" to "rid the government of evil spirits." Reyes, also known as the "running priest" for jogging in support of social causes, performed exorcism rites on Monday in front of the Commission on Elections (Comelec) building in Manila, and also prayed for peaceful and credible barangay (village) elections on October 29.
By Inquirer Northern Luzon Bureau, Southern Luzon Bureau, Central Luzon Desk, Mindanao Bureau MANILA, Philippines--While the enthusiasm generated by the national elections in May has died down, candidates for the Oct. 29 barangay (village) and Sangguniang Kabataan (youth council) elections have been trying to perk up the electorate by using time-tested campaign gimmicks. Some candidates have resorted to merrymaking -- complete with Ati-Atihan dancers and motorcades of jeepneys, pedicabs and tricycles -- to introduce themselves to voters. Others opted to conduct an anti-rabies vaccination campaign and free measles immunization for children. Still others capitalized on a popular television show for name recall while some youth candidates named their group after a Japanese cartoon character to attract young voters. The same charges of vote-buying and fraud that hounded candidates in the May 14 national elections, however, have also cropped up in some provinces. In Nueva Vizcaya, local officials and residents have expressed concern that the exercise has been marked with vote-buying and flying voters. Parents and SK candidates in Barangay Poblacion North have allegedly engaged in registering SK voters who are not from the village, said Councilor Michael Tiongson of Solano town. In Aritao town, residents said some local officials were virtually dictating the outcome of the village elections by handpicking those who were supposed to file their candidacies and forcing others to withdraw. Candidates belonging to one slate in Don Mariano Perez village in Bayombong town have been conducting vaccination of pet dogs. "I wish it is election period every day because our barangay and SK officials become hyperactive during these times. They are so nice, so hard working, so visible, always smiling and shaking hands left and right," said Dexter Divad of the Solano police. In Laoag City, former vice mayor Marlon Manuel said people voting in the village and SK elections were not vulnerable to vote-buying because they would likely vote for relatives in the running. "There is no room for 3Gs (goons, guns, gold). When they go to the precincts, voters will think about whether the candidate has been a good neighbor, if he had helped him in some way or whether he is a relative," he said. But like any election, the SK and village polls are used as vehicles for families to either perpetuate or expand political dynasties. In Laoag, those joining the polls include Chevylle Fariñas, wife of Mayor Michael Fariñas, who is running unopposed. Ruben Ablan, a son of Ilocos Norte Rep. Roque Ablan Jr., is also running for barangay chairman. Except for a shooting incident in Bolinao, Pangasinan on Friday night, which hurt two village leaders, one of whom was a village council candidate, the start of the campaign period was peaceful, police said. For some village candidates in Benguet, it's payback time. Several village candidates have asked for financial help from provincial officials whom they helped get elected in the May elections. Almost every candidate in Baguio City were discussing waste management in their campaign. In Barangay San Vicente in Tarlac City, streamers by a candidate for village chair hope to convey the message that if he wins, his village would be as merry as the popular "Bahay ni Kuya" of ABS-CBN's "Pinoy Big Brother." A slate of village candidates in Barangay Sto. Cristo is trailed by a procession of placard-carrying supporters and children, in black body paint, dancing in an Ati-Atihan fashion. In Barangay Matatalaib, a group of five candidates for councilor called themselves the "Voltes 5" in streamers and placards. Elections in Barangay San Vicente, though, is something to watch out for. The top position is being contested by former Tarlac City Vice Mayor Tess Cabal and former Councilor Roy Escalona. In Pampanga, the second day of the campaign period took on a fiesta-like atmosphere Saturday when candidates held their respective motorcades. The motorcades, at times tailed by honking tricycles and pedicabs, wound through the villages' roads. Some candidates threw candies and campaign leaflets to spectators. In the Mabalacat village of Marcos, Larry Lingay is the lone Aeta among six candidates for village. Nine Aeta men, however, are running for councilor in the village. Also in Mabalacat, village chair candidate Jun Castro coined a catchy phrase for his candidacy. In posters, he projected himself as the "katulong sa barangay (your aide in the village)." Siblings of politicians have joined the race. Atlas, the son of Mabalacat Mayor Marino Morales, is running for village chief of Dau. His younger brother is eyeing the chairmanship of the SK. In Nueva Ecija, none of the pomp and glitter of the past local elections have been observed in the campaign trail. The candidates, either riding on tricycles, motorcycles and "kolong-kolong" (motorcycle-driven cart used to transport hogs), were seen going on a house-to-house campaign. In Tabuating in San Leonardo town, an early substitution of candidates happened Friday when a candidate for council member, Numeriano Sapiandante, was shot dead while campaigning. His younger brother, Atanacio, took his place. Candidates in Bataan have been knocking on doors of their village mates and residents to ask them what they can give in exchange for their votes. In Bulacan, candidates in uniform colored shirts, vests and native woven hats went around the villages of Bulakan, Paombong, Hagonoy and Guiguinto to solicit votes. At least 800 villages in southern Luzon are under police watch. Some of them are regarded as "areas of immediate concern" or those where there is intense political rivalry and presence of armed groups. Less colorful and photo-copied campaign materials are posted on mini billboards at village entrances. Candidates are seen conducting house-to-house visits to introduce themselves and distribute fliers. "We are also going to be conducting a candidate's forum so those who are running could introduce themselves and their platforms," said a village resident in Daraga, Albay. In Laguna, candidates attended Mass at the start of the campaign period to pray for victory. In San Pablo City, candidates had themselves blessed by their parish priest after attending Mass as their way of ensuring that they win. Palawan's largest village in terms of land area and population, Barangay San Pedro, has more than 300 candidates vying for seven slots in the village council. "Many are running for council member for the allowance. It is a measure of unemployment and the lack of livelihood in the place," Ruel Caralipio, a radio station manager, said. In many villages in Cebu City, candidates launched their campaign early Friday with motorcades for the well-funded and house-to-house visits for those with small campaign kitty. In Leyte, a barangay captain in Tacloban City admitted that she would pay each voter as much as P500 in return for their support. She is facing four rivals for the post she has held for the past five years. Lorenzo Castellano, who was village chief of Ortiz in Iloilo City for 12 years, said vote-buying was also happening in the village elections although these were supposedly a non-partisan exercise. Castellano, who is running for barangay councilor, said candidates were spending larger amounts to win because the monthly honorarium for officials was significant, especially in big villages. He said some candidates were spending from P50-P100 to buy votes. While candidates are only allowed to spend P3 per voter, campaign materials have become expensive and sophisticated. In the past, candidates used posters made from sacks, Manila paper or cartolina but some candidates had glossy pictures and slogans on tarpaulins, Castellano said. Campaign handbills used to be handwritten but these have been photocopied or printed, he added. In Cebu City, some candidates have their own headquarters blaring campaign jingles while others have to make do with handing out handbills or pasting campaign posters. Still others showed their well-funded campaign machinery during the first day of the campaign period by holding a motorcade. In Maguindanao, provincial administrator Norie Unas said 90 percent of elective posts in the province's 234 villages would not be contested in the elections. The situation is similar to what took place in the province during the May 14 elections, when most elective posts were dominated by politicians identified with Gov. Datu Andal Ampatuan. "Barangay candidates who were endorsed from the level of community caucuses will be unopposed. And there are still efforts in the consultation level to make it 100-percent unopposed, depending on the outcome of further consultation," Unas said. In Digos City in Davao del Sur, candidates wearing colorful t-shirts distributed leaflets with their superimposed photos and asking people to vote for them. But in rebel-influenced areas, the mood is different. In at least five villages of Pikit in North Cotabato, security remains uncertain. Mohali Salik, whose group petitioned the Comelec to move the voting from Rajamuda, Baguinged, Buliok Proper, Barongis and Kabasalan to Gli-Gli, said armed men had been warning residents against voting on Oct. 29. In Parang, Sharif Kabunsuan, Gov. Zaldy Ampatuan of the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM) said he was seeking the help of Muslim religious leaders for the conduct of peaceful balloting. The police said 199 of the region's 2,475 villages were deemed risky for both voters and candidates because of the presence of armed groups. In Pagadian City, the village elections have become an opportunity for at least seven local journalists to enter politics. One of them is running for village chair while six others are aspiring to be council members. Reports from Gabriel Cardinoza, Peter La. Julian, Melvin Gascon, Delmar Cariño, Cristina Arzadon, Vincent Cabreza and Desiree Caluza, Inquirer Northern Luzon, and Russell Arador, Anselmo Roque, Tonette Orejas, Carmela Reyes and Greg Refraccion, Inquirer Central Luzon; Ephraim Aguilar, Jaymee Gamil, Romulo Ponte, Gerald Gene Querubin, and Madonna Virola, Inquirer Southern Luzon; Junex Napallacan, Nestor Burgos Jr., Carla Gomez, Joey Gabieta and Ven Labro, Inquirer Visayas; Nash Maulana, Edwin Fernandez, Allan Nawal, Aquiles Zonio, Charlie Señase and Dennis Santos, Inquirer Mindanao
By Charlie Señase Inquirer Mindanao Bureau COTABATO CITY--Acting Commission on Elections (Comelec) chairman Resurreccion Borra has reminded provincial, city, and town poll officials to disseminate resolutions pertaining to the October 29 barangay (village) and youth polls. "It is imperative that candidates in the Barangay and the Sangguniang Kabataan elections and the public in general are aware of the Comelec guidelines," said city election registrar Arlan Mangelen in paraphrasing Borra's latest directive. Significantly raised was Comelec Resolution 8230 which pertains to the use of campaign and other propaganda materials of which a candidate is only allowed to spend P3 per voter. Mangelen said poster sizes should not exceed two feet by three feet and must only be displayed within the designated common poster areas. The Comelec official also reminded candidates of the October 18 deadline for the filing of their certificates of candidacy. While the liquor and gun bans are being enforced until November 13, the Comelec has set the campaign period from October 19 to 27.
By Inquirer DAGUPAN CITY--A candidate for village chief was shot dead in front of his furniture shop in Tayug, Pangasinan, on Tuesday even as more areas were placed under police watch in the run up to the barangay and youth elections on Oct. 29. Tayug police chief Supt. Sotero Soriano Jr. said Jaime Tolentino, 57, who filed his candidacy for barangay captain of Carriedo in Tayug on Monday, died instantly after men aboard a motorcycle shot him at about 12:15 p.m. Tuesday. Tolentino's 24-year-old son, Marlon, who was sawing a piece of wood in their shop, was wounded when a stray bullet hit his right leg. Soriano said the older Tolentino was hit in various parts of his body. Six empty shells from a .45 cal. pistol were recovered from the crime scene. "We are still trying to ascertain if this is a politically motivated killing," Soriano said. The police have placed at least 15 villages in Isabela and Cagayan provinces under its watch list for the synchronized barangay and Sangguniang Kabataan elections. Cagayan police director Senior Supt. Jude Wilson Santos said police were watching the villages of Liwan Norte and Barangay Dos in Enrile town and three villages in Tuguegarao City due to incidents of election-related violence in past elections. In Isabela, at least 10 villages in San Pablo, Aurora, San Mariano and Delfin Albano towns have been classified as "areas of concern" in the run up to the Oct. 29 elections. Isabela police director Senior Supt. Dominador Aquino Jr. said he has ordered police chiefs in these towns to be on "extra alert" to stop poll-related violence and clashes there. In the Cordillera, police were watching 63 villages for possible cases of election-related violence. Senior Supt. Noel Manabat, deputy regional director for operations of the Cordillera police, said these villages in Abra, Mt. Province, Benguet and Ifugao have been placed under their election watch areas (EWA) based on cases of political violence in the 2004 and 2007 elections. Gabriel Cardiñoza, Villamor Visaya Jr., Desiree Caluza, Inquirer Northern Luzon; Judy Quiros, Inquirer Mindanao

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