By Bonita Ermac
MARAWI CITY – Residents and supporters of losing candidates of different government positions here in the just concluded May 13 midterm elections gathered in a prayer rally held at the Macarambon hall inside Jamiatu Muslim Mindanao school in Barangay Matampay, May 17, to condemn alleged massive cheating and vote buying in Marawi City and Lanao del Sur.
More than a thousand rallysists bore placards expressing sentiments, like “Vote-buying doesn’t help Marawi rise again, think about it,” or “Vote-buying is the dirty work of Shaitan, a Satan.”
One of the more vocal protestors was Lanao del Sur gubernatorial candidate Guiling Mamondiong who expressed shock that he was not able to get a single vote from Bumbaran town when most of his watchers were from the municipality.
Lawyer, Ramayan Basman, a mayoralty candidate under the Partido Demokratiko Pilipino Lakas ng Bayan (PDP Laban) in Marawi City, said she had all the evidence, affidavits of watchers and videos of pre-shading of ballots and vote buying.
“Yung mga BEIs (Board of Elections Inspectors) mismo nag she-shade o pini-pre-shade nila yung mga balota, tapos meron ding video na binibili yung boto”, said Basman.
“Apparently the barrio (barangay captain) has two candidates so kung sino ang bobotohan nila bibigyan sila ng colored coupon. At yun ang dadalhin nila sa labas to claim the cash promised”, she added.
Basman said she will soon present these pieces of evidence to the Commission on Elections (Comelec) for proper action.
Vice gubernatorial candidate Norodin Alonto Lucman lamented that he only got 14,000 votes in the whole province as he and his camp noted anomalies like “dagdag-bawas”.
“What surprised me was the propensity of the officials of the Comelec (Commission Elections) and the BEIs and the barangay captains who…what is this…connived”, said Lucman.
As such, the group asked for justice and called on President Rodrigo Duterte to intervene.
“Humihingi kami ng hustisya dahil may kamaliang nangyayari at may dayaang nangyayari noong botohan (May 13),” Basman added.
“Pres. DU30, prove your neutral-political side, disqualify winner-cheaters now”, they added.
Re-electionist Lanao del Sur Governor Mamintal Alonto Adiong, Jr., in a separate interview, said the Comelec has already created a task force that will look into the reported vote buying, and it would be better for all parties to wait for the result of their investigation.
“Yun ang aksiyon ng Comelec para masagot ang mga alegasyon ng mga natalong kandidato,” Adiong said.
“Pwede namang fabricated yan, pwedeng nakuha sa ibang probinsya”, Adiong said.
Adiong said there was no reason to declare a failure of election based on the certification issued by the provincial election supervisor Atty. Allan Kadun and the PNP in Lanao del Sur on May 17,as there were no complaints nor petitions or complaints filed.
“No report and complaint on election-related incidents or irregularities have been filed,” the certification signed by Kadun stated.
As of press time, no winner has yet to be proclaimed in the provincial level due to the delayed canvassing caused by defective SD cards in the towns of Tamparan, Balabagan, Bayang and Kapatagan.