VOTING SMOOTH Comelec, AFP say BOL plebiscite generally peaceful

CANVASSING OF VOTES. Poll watchers and observers are taking notes of the canvassing of votes on the plebiscite for the ratification of Bangsamoro Organic Law inside Shariff Kabunsuan Cultural Complex in the Office of the Regional Governor in Cotabato City on Tuesday. Armando Fenequito Jr

COTABATO CITY — The Commission on Elections said Monday’s plebiscite of the Bangsamoro Organic Law (BOL) was “generally successful.”

The assessment was made by Comelec spokesperson James Jimenez in Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao, Cotabato City and Isabela City, Basilan.

Despite some confusion and security threats, and some reported irregularities, Jimenez said the polls had 100 percent completion.

The area that experienced minor glitches, said Jimenez, was Cotabato City. However, he said the voting process ran smoothly. 

“Eventually the voting was concluded safe and relatively peaceful throughout the plebiscite areas,” he said.

Jimenez said around 9:00 p.m. of January 21, all ballot boxes of Cotabato City arrived at the Shariff Kabunsuan Cultural Center inside the Office of the Regional Governor.

He bared that despite reports of vote buying and harassments, the Comelec has not yet received any formal complaints.

The Comelec urged the public who noted irregularities during the plebiscite to file complains to their office.

On the security side, 6th Infantry Division commander Maj. Gen. Cirilito Sobejana said the electoral exercise was peaceful despite a reported grenade explosion in the city. Sobejana said there were no reports of any untoward incidents happening during the conduct of plebiscite in the city.

He said the grenade explosion which happened in the house of Maguindanao Municipal Trial Court Judge Aneglito Rasalan is still under investigation and investigators have not confirmed whether it is plebiscite-related.

A recovered hand grenade outside Rojas High School is likewise still being probed by the police.

Institute for Autonomy and Governance peace and conflict analyst Francisco Lara Jr. bared that there were 95-plebiscite related violence.

Lara said among the incidents recorded were mauling, recovered grenade and some ballot snatching reported in some areas in Tawi-Tawi.

Overall, Lara said, the polls were better than previous ones.