By Freddie Lazaro
BANGUED, Abra – – Despite the presence of some complaints of VCM malfunctions in Baguio City and other areas, long queues and some incidents involving rival politicians in at least two towns in Abra, the conduct of the polls remains peaceful, according to Cordillera police director Police Brigadier Gen. Ephraim Dickson.
As early as 10AM Monday, the Regional Emergency Monitoring Action Center of the regional police recorded at least 35 cases of vote buying in the highland region: 25 in Abra; 6 in Kalinga; and 2 in Baguio City.
Still in Abra, elections momentarily halted Monday morning after Bangued mayoralty bet, former Mayor Ryan Luna figured in a physical confrontation with supporters of re-electionist mayor Dominic Valera infront of the polling centers in Barangay Patucannay, Bangued.
Luna was taken by the police for questioning and booking to face an election offense, said election lawyer Estelita Cordero, as the mayoralty bet who had been figuring in a number of election-related physical confrontations against Valera’s supporters and campaigners. In his defense, Luna said he was simply questioning if barangay officials were allowed within polling areas.
In Lagayan, Abra, policemen and soldiers caught an alleged leader of a notorious gun-for-hire group Monday morning. Vincent Guzman, a resident of barangay Pang-ot, in the same town and allegedly supporter of suspended and re-electionist Lagayan mayor Jendricks Luna was arrested while within a polling area in the town.