Military gunships chased Muslim rebels in the volatile south Tuesday as violence left 40 people dead in national elections. Candidates from President Fidel Ramos’ coalition were leading for 10 of the 12 Senate seats, while Ferdinand Marcos’ son appeared headed for defeat.
Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr.’s mother, former first lady Imelda Marcos, was leading the House race from her home island of Leyte even though the election commission disqualified her. She was allowed to run pending an appeal.
The Roman Catholic Church warned of further unrest if fraud is found in Monday’s voting. The Commission of Election said it was investigating reports of vote-buying, ballot theft and cases in which hundreds of voters said their names vanished from registration rolls.
In the south, where the worst violence occurred, the military used attack helicopters to track down followers of a renegade Muslim mayoral candidate accused of ambushing a marine convoy on election day.
The marines were sent to Jolo Island to halt fighting between supporters of the candidate, Khan Tulawie, and his mayoral opponentcousin. The fighting forced cancellation of the voting there.
Final official returns from Monday’s election are expected in three weeks. Unofficial figures compiled by the private National Movement for Free Elections - NAMFREL showed Ramos’ candidates leading in 10 of the 12 contested seats in the 24-seat chamber.
Filipinos also chose all 204 House of Representatives members and governors, mayors and other officials.