Post-election violence: fire destroys part of Buldon town hall

Initial reports reaching the ARMM police said alleged supporters of the Manalaos set the hall on fire.

But Supt. Danilo Bacas, ARMM-PNP spokesperson said, “we still have no concrete evidence. We are still investigating.”

The Manalaos are completing 19 years of the mayoralty of Buldon by June 30 this year.

Macarampat  Manalao, father of outgoing mayor Abolais Manalao, lost his bid for another term after a nine-year absence.

Macarampat had served as mayor for three terms from 1988 to 1998, followed by his son, Abolais Aratuc Manalao, from 1998 to June 30 this year.

Macarampat lost to his cousin, Fatima Ruth Aratuc-Tomawis, granddaughter of the legendary Buldon mayor Bangon Aratuc, who got 6,230 votes against Manalao’s 4,634.

Buldon has 13,289 registered voters.

Fatima is also the wife of Mayor Alex Tomawis of neighboring Barira town where a failure of election was held. The ARMM-PNP incident report then said “armed supporters of incumbent mayor Alex Tomawis and mayoral candidate incumbent vice mayor Jun Macarimbang had a stand-off and ballot boxes were not released from the Comelec office.” Barira has 11,919 registered voters.

Bacas said the municipality’s security forces at the Buldon town hall were not around when the incident happened as they were busy in Parang town, where the counting and canvassing of votes in Buldon was held. Buldon was earlier declared an “area of concern” by the Commission on Elections, Bacas said.

Bacas said reports reaching him indicated only part of the second floor was burned.

As of 10 a.m., the Manalaos could not be reached for comment. (Carolyn O. Arguillas/MindaNews)