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The number of validated election-related incidents (ERIs) more than doubled for this year's Barangay and Sangguniang Kabataan Elections (BSKE) 2023 compared to figures from the previous polls, the Philippine National Police (PNP) said in a report by Philippine News Agency.

PNP spokesperson Col. Jean Fajardo, in a press briefing in Camp Crame, Quezon City, said a total of 105 validated ERIs were recorded during the election period from Aug. 28 to Nov. 29 -- an increase of 65 incidents from 40 validated ERIs during the 2018 polls.

The figure is out of the PNP's final tally of 331 incidents. This also includes five cases undergoing validation and 221 incidents that were confirmed as unrelated to the polls.

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The Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao topped the list of confirmed ERIs with 57, followed by 15 in Northern Mindanao; six each in Eastern Visayas and Ilocos Region; five in Cordillera; four in Bicol; three in Central Visayas; two each in Calabarzon, Western Visayas and Zamboanga Peninsula; and one each in Soccksargen, Mimaropa and Metro Manila. 

Fajardo, however, said these did not affect the overall electoral process and there is no recorded failure of election.

Meanwhile, a total of 29 people were killed while 100 others were injured in these incidents.

Fajardo said a total of 2,672 persons were also arrested during the implementation of a nationwide gun ban for the BSKE which officially ended on Wednesday.

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A total of 2,087 were confiscated while 2,241 surrendered firearms and another 2,753 firearms were deposited for safekeeping.

Abong's dismissal

In the same presser, Fajardo said they are awaiting the official order from the Department of the Interior and Local Government on the dismissal from the service of Lt. Col. Mark Julio Abong.

“As a matter of process, Lt. Col. Abong must be duly notified of the SILG's (Secretary of the Interior and Local Government) decision affirming his dismissal. Once he receives it, the DILG will issue a certificate of finality of judgment. The PNP has to receive the transmittal concerning the certificate of finality of judgment from the DILG. The PNP will then issue the implementing orders for the dismissal of Lt. Col. Abong from the PNP service," she said.

On Wednesday, the DILG denied for lack of merit the appeal filed by Lt. Col. Mark Julio Abong for his dismissal due to the hit-and-run and drunk driving incident on Aug. 6, 2022 along Anonas Street, Quezon City that killed tricycle driver Joel Larosa and injured a passenger.

Once dismissed, Fajardo said Abong's benefits would be forfeited.

Abong's eligibility would also be revoked. He would also be perpetually disqualified from holding any other government posts.

“He can appeal to the CSC (Civil Service Commission) and probably, before our courts," he added.

The PNP Firearms and Explosives Office revoked the licenses of the three guns owned by the police officer.

Abong has also been indicted by the Quezon City Prosecutor's Office on several charges, after he fired his gun during a confrontation with another customer in a bar in the city on Nov. 26.


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