WATCH: Violence mars polls in Lanao del Norte town

Roxanne Arevalo, ABS-CBN News

Polls in Munai, Lanao Del Norte delayed due to violence

MANILA - The supporters of two mayoral candidates in Munai, Lanao Del Norte clashed several hours before the elections on Monday, and disrupted the final testing and sealing (FTS) of ballot machines.

Alleged supporters of Liberal Party (LP) pick Abdulasis Batinggolo on Sunday blocked the gate of the Munai town hall where vote counting machines (VCMs) were stored.

Video from a Bayan Patroller showed purported followers of Batinggolo lining up several jeepneys at the building's entrance.

Followers of United Nationalist Alliance (UNA) mayoral bet Casan Maquiling, meanwhile, attempted to move the jeepneys away from the gate.

The two camps then threw rocks at each other, leaving three people wounded.

The clash prevented the board of election inspectors (BEI) from conducting final testing and sealing of the ballot machines.

Last Friday, a staff of the Commission on Election (Comelec) was also reportedly mobbed while trying to retrieve the VCMs from the town hall.

Soldiers and a special board of election inspectors succeeded in getting the machines on Monday morning.

Authorities were still holding a final inspection of the machines, as of past 7 a.m. today, thus delaying the start of elections.

Education Assistant Secretary Tonisito Umali earlier said 800 teachers from Lanao Del Norte, Lanao Del Sur and Maguindanao have backed out of election duties due to security concerns.

Umali said around 200 policemen with special training took up the posts of these teachers in the BEI, by virtue of Commission on Elections (Comelec) resolution 10122.

Lanao Del Norte, Lanao Del Sur and Maguindanao are among the poll body's identified election hotspots or areas with intense political rivalry and high incidence of election-related violence.

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