MADALUM, Lanao del Sur (MindaNews / 07 May) — Locking their arms and using their sandals to hit the soldiers on their heads, female supporters of a mayoral candidate here thwarted attempts by the Commission on Elections to bring the vote counting machines (VCM) from the covered gym in front of the fire station to the municipal hall a kilometer away.
Comelec election officer Camaloden Mastura said female supporters of Madalum mayoral bet Mila Gainal (UNA) prevented policemen and soldiers from bringing the VCMs to the municipal hall.
TENSION IN MADALUM. Army soldiers figure in a scuffle with female supporters of a local candidate who were trying to prevent the delivery of the vote counting machines in Madalum town, Lanao del Sur on Friday, May 6, 2016. MindaNews photo by FROILAN GALLARDO
“On Thursday night the supporters blocked the soldiers and policemen by locking their arms and sleeping on the machines,” Mastura said.
Mastura said the soldiers and policemen made four attempts Thursday night but failed.
On Friday, the 51st Army Battalion deployed a team of female soldiers to counter the 30 to 50 women supporters of Gainal.
It became a free-for-all catfight as soldiers and supporters clashed over the VCMs.
Most of the male supporters of Gainal stayed at the sidelines with soldiers guarding anyone from joining the melee.
The women supporters prevailed.
SCOLDED. An Army soldier is scolded by female supporters of a local candidate who were trying to prevent the delivery of vote counting machines in Madalum town, Lanao del Sur on Friday, May 6, 2016. MindaNews photo by FROILAN GALLARDO
Later in the afternoon, male soldiers took charge but the women warded them off using their sandals to hit their heads.
Socainah Amanodin, one of the women supporters, said they will not allow the delivery of the VCMs to the Madalum municipal hall because they fear their opponent will tamper with the equipment.
Amanodin alleged the family of incumbent Mayor Usman “Palao” Sarangani Jr. has always resorted to cheating during elections in their 23-year reign in Madalum.
“Where can you see a municipal town hall that is converted into a house of Palao. Kumpleto, may kama pa” (It’s complete, with bed), she said.
Palao is not running for reelection as he is completing his third term on June 30 but his mother Zoriada is.
Mastura explained that the town hall is where the local Comelec office is located and the municipal police station as well.
“When Guinab filed her candidacy, she did it inside the Comelec office in that building. That means they recognized the municipal building,” she said.
Mastura said he is also under orders from Comelec Manila to deposit the machines inside its local office at the municipal building. (Froilan Gallardo / MindaNews)