By Claire Gigje
BUTIG, Lanao del Sur (PIA)–Undeterred by the incidents of violence that transpired Monday, May 9, the national and local elections in the municipality of Butig here in the province continued with more voters coming to the precincts to cast their votes.
The 5th Infantry Battalion confirmed that a Vote Counting Machine (VCM) and roughly 700 ballots for Brgy. Ragayan were snatched in Bayabao Central Elementary School while another set of ballots for Brgy. Sigayanwere also seized and returned already shaded in Butig National High School.
Some voters waiting in line witnessed the happenings but still decided to proceed anyway to cast their votes.
Hamoud Maramaya who was a voter of Bayabao Central Elementary School stressed that he was still determined to cast his vote.
Although waiting in line for half a day already, he emphasized that it was important for him to participate in the polls considering his primary aim.
“Desidido akong bumuto kasi [I am decided to vote] as a Filipino citizen, it is my right to vote, I want changes in my place, and it is for our nation as a citizen of this country,” said Marmaya.
On the other hand, alias Norns, who was also a voter of Bayabao Central Elementary School, shared that she was able to cast her vote smoothly without encountering technical glitches.
Being a nurse stationed at that time in the polling center, Norns was accordingly prioritized.
103rd Infantry Brigade Commanding Officer BGen. Jose Maria Cuerpo II said the incident in Bayabao Central Elementary School did not affect and contribute a significant impact since the election officer reported that the memory card of the VCM was secured before the VCM was forcibly taken.
He detailed that according to the Commission on Elections (COMELEC), casted votes were stored in the saved memory card and they can just borrow another VCM to continue the votes in the said precinct.
With regards to the similar incident in another polling center wherein ballots were also snatched and thereafter returned with almost all of it shaded already, Cuerpo stressed that they are leaving the decision for the said matter to the COMELEC and all the brigade can extend is their support. (CRG/PIA-10/Lanao del Sur)