Chaos reigns in Lanao del Sur as opposition mayoralty bet’s supporters break glass wall in provincial capitol

Published May 11, 2022, 2:30 PM

by Bonita Ermac

MARAWI CITY — Supporters of Butig opposition mayoralty candidate Potresam Macadato rushed to the town hall to protest the transfer of vote-counting machines (VCMs) and ballots from the Municipality of Butig to the Provincial Capitol.

Army troops guarded the glass walls which were broken down by the supporters of opposition mayoralty aspirant Potresam Macadato of Butig town in Lanao del Sur, Tuesday May 10. (Bonita L.Ermac)

The supporters, chanting balota! Balota!, said they were not in favor of transferring the VCMs from Butig to the distant provincial capitol.

The incumbent mayor of Butig, Dimnatang Pansar, who is running for the same position, allegedly has links with the Governor Mamintal Alonto Adiong, Jr.

The situation created a commotion between supporters and security forces that resulted in the breaking of glass walls and windows of the capitol building.

The police and military personnel barricaded the capitol building entrance, preventing the supporters from getting in. The authorities also fired warning shots.

Supporters of Macadato alleged that there was massive cheating and conspiracy on the part of incumbent mayor Dimnatang Pansar.

Maulana Macadato, brother-in-law of Potresam, detailed that the issue began when he was about to cast his vote one election day. He said he had waited for an hour outside the polling center which was closed and thereby preventing him from voting.

Maulana Macadato said he noticed that new electoral board members (EB) were replacing those EBs who have undergone training through midnight appointments. He also alleged that the chairman in the polling precinct is new.

He asserted that there was a midnight appointment of the chairmen of electoral boards (EBs). He said all the chairmen of EBs for the 27 clustered precincts of the municipality were replaced the night before the election and the replacement were civilians who were not trained in operating the VCM.

“Lahat ng chairman ng 27 clustered precincts ay pinalitan pero ang pumalit ay iyong iba mga sibilyan… Wala silang training at ang pinalitan nila ay ang mga nakapag-training na hindi pa mga disqualified na sila ay mga special electoral boards na composed of PNP personnel. Ang sabi ng acting election officer pinalitan sila dahil ayaw daw nila….may massive cheating at conspiracy pa”, he said.

According to Gov Adiong, the opposition camp misunderstood the bringing of VCMs and ballots in the capitol, believing something will be done with it.

In response to the conspiracy allegations with regard to the transport of election paraphernalia to the provincial capitol, Adiong explained that bringing the VCMs and ballots to the Capitol has been a practice in the province every election, especially for areas with problems on security.

He emphasized that he does not have the power to instruct the municipalities to bring the election paraphernalia to the Capitol and only the COMELEC can do that.

Adiong said he had no knowledge of the capitol situation and the allegations of cheating in Butig as there is no signal in the area, and he just stayed at home waiting for results and monitoring the activities in the whole province.

The governor denied there was even before he took his position. He confirmed though that the reelectionist for mayor in Butig is his “balae” yet he emphasized that he does not have control over every citizen of the province.

“Walang nangyaring dayaan. Mula nang maging governor ako, walang nangyayaring dayaan sa Lanao del Sur. Tinatanggal natin ang sinasabi nilang kung may dayaan, ang tinitingnan nila ang Lanao del Sur… Totoo, balae ko iyong incumbent mayor diyan pero hindi ko kontrolado ang bawat mamamayan ng Lanao del Sur na ito ang gawin mo, ito ang gawin mo,” the governor said.

Adiong also hoped the police force who were in the vicinity should have pacified the supporters of Butig mayoralty candidate Potresam Macadato so that damage to the capitol building would have been avoided.

“Nandiyan ang kapulisan natin at Army. Nakita naman sa video na habang binabasag (ang mga salamin) walang nagpapacify…. Ang sa akin kapag may nangyaring kaguluhan, dapat nandiyan ang mga kapulisan natin para ipacify… hindi iyong aantayin na magkamatayan o magrumble sa magkabilang kampo”, he further said.