MANILA – Some areas in the province of Abra became virtual “ghost towns” two days after the mid-term elections.
One of Abra’s voters, “Leah” (not her real name), said this is a normal occurrence in the election hotspot after the polls.
“Sobrang takot din ng mga tao dito, kaya nasanay na din sila na kapag botohan na, nagtatago na ang mga tao,” she said.
Leah, who came all the way from Manila, said vote-buying was rampant in the province during the campaign. She said she had received P2,500 from a mayoral bet.
“Sa hirap talaga ng buhay dito sa Abra, makikita niyo naman ‘yung iba walang makain eh,” she said.
Leah claimed that her family members and neighbors also sold their votes, which is why they are now in hiding for fear that those who did not win in the elections may resort to violence.
“Nanakot sila, ‘yung talagang babarilin nila bahay mo. Kaya hindi mo rin masasabi talaga na ligtas ‘yung bahay mo. Malalaman mo nalang bandang mga alas-dose nagpuputukan na, talagang raratratin ang bahay mo,” she said.
Police, meanwhile, said security remains tight in the area to prevent election-related violence.
“Patuloy natin sasabihan lalo na ‘yung mga nanalo na pag-upo nila ay matauhan sila at ‘yung kanilang mga followers ay walang gawing kaguluhan,” said chief Supt. Roberto Soriano.
Some provincial officials returned to office on Wednesday, but they remain heavily-guarded. — Report from Niko Baua, ABS-CBN News