Live from Lanao, Day 3
ISLAMIC CITY OF MARAWI, LANAO DEL SUR—Yes, these images are real.
They’re caught by ABS-CBN cameras in 3 of 7 towns here that again went to the polls yesterday.
Most are an hour’s drive from the capitol in Marawi up mountains on narrow, rough roads.
The school yards were filled with voters nonetheless. A number were to vote for the first time, others old to need assistance.
For whatever persuasion, they came. As our reporter Jeff Canoy observes, the scene of long lines, pushing, shoving, and fainting is as familiar to Manila as it is here.
Apparently familiar too in these areas are money, campaigning, and practically many violations of election day conduct. No matter if media members were on guard, along with battalions of men in fatigues and police uniforms.
Jeff’s cameraman Rommel Zarate had to discreetly shoot with his heavy Ikegami cam inside a polling classroom in Lumba Bayabao, but that did not stop one woman nearby from peeking at sheets of campaign leaflets attached to crisp 50-peso bills.
In Sultan Dumalondong, Iligan-based ABS-CBN reporter Ronnie Enderes talked to a woman who made the rounds of a classroom as she softly dictated candidates from her leaflets to voters there. All the while she did it, a camera was rolling in front.
Roxanne Arevalo, also from the regional station, inconspicuously braved crowds at Macadaag Elementary School in Masiu to pick up crumpled opened envelopes scattered in the school yard.
Workers employed by candidates gave away these envelopes, stuck with the candidates’ names, numbers or pictures. One leaflet by a local Liberal Party stalwart endorsed “Nonoy” Aquino below a picture of his face.
People were taking notice as Roxanne and her cameraman interviewed those workers and gathered up proofs of their trade.
So to get one, she would kneel down, talk on her phone, subtly cover the ground with her shoulder bag and take the envelope.
All day, our satellite (or fly away) team stayed at our set up in the provincial capitol at Marawi, waiting to feed video material our news gathering teams brought.
The complex was vacant of cars and silent all morning. Small groups of police and army men walked around, as two armored weapons carriers parked near the entrance.
Commission on Elections officials were still out on the field, waiting for the 9 p.m. schedule to reconvene the provincial canvassing board.
With each team that returned with a tape or a CF card came vivid stories of open vote-buying and cheating.
These stories were pulled together for this wrap-up piece that landed on ABS-CBNnews.com (click image to read):
Locals have long known these “phenomena,” which remain suspicions outside the region.
Only these exclusive shots show that money, it seems, still talks.