Village elections across the Philippines were relatively peaceful Monday but voting in some rural areas was marred by violence, including two killings, shootouts and the burning of a voting center, officials said. Troops and police went on full security alert to avert more violence after 22 candidates and supporters died in pre-election violence, mostly shootouts, over the past month. Violence and fraud have long been an unsettling hallmark of Philippine elections. Fifteen people were killed in village election violence in 2010 and 57 died in the 2007 elections, police said. In the latest violence, the husband of a candidate for village chairman was shot and killed Monday by suspected political rivals in Jaro town in central Leyte province. A supporter of another village candidate was killed during a rowdy confrontation with army troops in southern Agusan del Sur province, according to police.
More than 800,000 candidates vied for chairmanships and other posts in more than 42,000 urban and rural villages called barangays — the Philippines’ smallest political units, where violence and fraud are as much a concern as they are in elections for higher office.
Security was tight in about 6,000 villages considered security hotspots due to a history of electoral violence or attacks by Muslim and communist insurgents or al-Qaida-linked militants.