MANILA, JAN. 24 -- Hundreds of soldiers and election officials have been deployed in five Philippine provinces where balloting for provincial and local officials, postponed last week because of potential violence and fraud, will take place Monday.
About 1.25 million voters in the five provinces are expected to cast ballots choosing governors, mayors and councilors.
Voting in the provinces of Abra, Ifugao, Ilocos Sur and Quezon -- all on the main island of Luzon -- and Maguindanao on the southern island of Mindanao was delayed last week because authorities feared violence and fraud by warring political factions or communist guerrillas. The government has poured Army reinforcements and additional election supervisors into the areas in an effort to ensure peaceful and honest voting.
More than 130 persons, including 42 candidates, have been killed since the election campaign began Dec. 1.
Meanwhile, canvassing of the returns from the local balloting held Jan. 18 in most provinces showed candidates of President Corazon Aquino's official Nation's Strength and Philippine Democratic Party-Laban coalitions winning 42 gubernatorial races. The progovernment Liberal Party is leading in six gubernatorial races, while independent candidates, including several former allies of deposed president Ferdinand Marcos and other administration opponents, are winning in 15 provinces.
Voting has been delayed in 11 of the nation's 73 provinces because of the potential for fraud and violence.
Since an overwhelming majority of the candidates professed support for Aquino, the elections have not been viewed as a test of the president's popularity or strength. Local elections in the Philippines traditionally have evolved around local personalities and families, and are affected little by presidential endorsements or national issues.