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Inquirer.net : Comelec workers call for protection as colleague survives attack in Basilan

News & Interviews
14 October 2021

By Julie S. Alipala | Inquirer.net

ZAMBOANGA CITY — An employees’ group at the Commission on Elections (Comelec) called for greater protection of the poll body’s workers as election fever heats up.

The Comelec Employees’ Union (Comelec EU) issued the call after an election officer and his daughter survived an attack at 7:30 p.m. on Monday in Barangay San Rafael, Isabela City, Basilan province.

Lt. Col. Julpikar Sitin, chief of the Isabela City Police Station (ICPS), said Aknam Haris Hasim, election officer in Maluso town of Basilan, was on board a Black Mitsubishi Adventure with his wife and daughter when unidentified assailants shot him several times as their car traversed the San Rafael road on their way to town.

Hasim, 49, sustained multiple gunshot wounds on different parts of his body while his daughter Marwa Hasim Alih, 20, sustained minor injury in her right leg, Sitin said.

The election officer, who is still in critical condition, has been brought to a bigger hospital here while his daughter recuperates in Basilan. The family lives in Isabela City’s Sitio Mabarakat, Barangay Aguada.

The Comelec EU vehemently condemned the attack.

“We call on the Comelec to immediately put our law enforcement agencies to task so that those responsible for this barbarity will be brought to the bars of justice swiftly,” the group said in a statement.

The group said more protection should be given to Comelec employees nationwide as they could be targets of attacks as the election starts to heat up in different parts of the country.

“As the election fever heats up, (Comelec workers) risk their lives and limbs daily so that the people’s right to vote would be upheld and protected,” the statement said as the 5,000-member strong group prayed for healing and the immediate recovery of Hasim and his daughter.

Police recovered from the crime scene eight fired cartridges and two slugs of cal. 45.

“The family is still in shock,” Sitin said. “We will wait until they are ready to speak and cooperate. Right now, we cannot ascertain yet the perpetrators and their motives,” he added.