Comelec–ARMM releases list of bets despite uncertain regional elections PDF Print E-mail
Saturday, 28 May 2011 15:56

The Commission on Elections in the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (Comelec-ARMM) on Thursday released the final list of the gubernatorial and vice-gubernatorial candidates for the still uncertain regional polls scheduled to take place on Aug. 8 this year.

The election office closed on Wednesday midnight its week-long timeline on the filing of certificates of candidacy by political aspirants in the region that began last May 19.

The national government has earlier proposed to reset and synchronize the ARMM pools to the 2013 midterm local election on efforts to eliminate “command votes” as dictated by powerful political clans in the region.

However, if election pushes through, constituents in the re gion would chose a new governor, vice-governor and assemblymen for their 24-seat Regional Legislative Assembly (RLA), the region’s law-making body.

The Senate is yet to vote on the fate of the ARMM polls, on which majority of the members of the House of Representatives earlier voted for its postponement.

The ARMM covers the cities of Marawi and Lamitan and also the provinces of Maguindanao, Sulu, Lanao del Sur, Tawi-tawi and Basilan.

The Comelec-ARMM list of candidates include three close relatives of the Ampatuan clan, of which several members are currently detained for their alleged participation in the planning of the infamous Nov. 23 2009 Maguindanao massacre that killed 57 people, including 32 journalists.

The massacre, which took place barely six months before the May 10, 2010 national and local polls, is
described as the worst pre-election incident in the history of Philippine politics.

This developed as Bai Rachel Ampatuan, the eldest daughter of Ampatuan patriarch Andal Ampatuan Sr., urged the court to speed up trial of the case against his detained father and brothers and spare those innocent from the crime.

Bai Rachel’s detained brothers include former ARMM Governor Datu Zaldy Ampatuan and Datu Unsay Mayor Andal Ampatuan Jr., the principal massacre suspect, among others.

“Amid the ongoing court case, we still have relatives not included in the case and are ready to serve the needs of the people in the province,” she said.

The Ampatuan kin running in the polls are Datu Muslimin Ampatuan, Borgiva Tasmi Datumanong, Udtog Kawit, and Midpantao Midtimbang, all eyeing a slot at the RLA representing the second district of Maguindanao.

Meanwhile, those vying for the ARMM gubernatorial post are Ashmaira Abdullah, Mamintal Adiong Jr., Saad Amate, Ephraim Delfino, Mujiv Hataman, Alvarez Isnaji, Ansaroden Lucman Moner, Pakung Mangudadatu, Kadra Masihul, Datu Habib Maulana, Elsie Orejudos, Saidamen Pangarungan and Sahiron Salem.

The candidates for vice-governor are Ansarrudin Alonto-Adiong, concurrent ARMM acting regional governor; Margarita “Tingting” Cojuangco, Fatani Maik, Mikunug Ampao, Arab Ampaso, Shariffa Bago, Datu Pelaez Carudin, Bobby Datimbang, Alikhan Dimaro, Gani Gaddung, Abdulbassit Hadjinor, Omar Hassiman, Bashier Manalao, Kano Nor, Marconi Paiso and Abdusakur Tan ll.

Aside from the four Ampatuan relatives, others running for assemblymen in Maguindanao are Sittie Saiman Abo, Cahar Ibay, Abel Mastura, Ronnie Sinsuat and Abdul Tomawis for the province’s first district.

Also, for the second district are Mashur Biruar, Habbas Camendan, Lowell Macabangen, Norodin Mamaluba, Khadafe Mangudadatu, Datu Guimid Matalam, Datu Pike Mentang, Abubakar Paglas, Tunggal Piang, Abdulwahab Sabal and Solaiman Sandigan.