Namfrel in Sultan Kudarat worried over delays

Lydia del Corro, Namfrel provincial co-chair, said they were inclined to believe that certain parties are deliberately delaying the delivery of election returns and certificates of canvass from the municipal and barangay levels to allegedly facilitate some dubious activities.

"The election documents from the municipal level are actually coming in trickles. And worse, we found evidences that may prove that there is some sort of manipulation (of the election results) going on here," she told MindaNews in a telephone interview this morning. Del Corro said they initially found out that the seal of some envelopes
containing the election documents were already open. She did not specify how many envelopes were involved and where they came from but stressed that they are already closely looking into the matter.

Del Corro said they have elevated the matter to local members of the Legal Network for Truthful Elections, a group of volunteer lawyers and paralegals convened by the Integrated Bar of the Philippines, for possible legal actions.

"They already made some initial representations with the Commission on Elections and we're expecting that an inquiry will be made soon," she said.

Del Corro said the late arrival of the election documents have also delayed their supposed quick count being held at the Tacurong parish compound here.

As of 10 a.m. today, local Namfrel volunteers only managed to tabulate the results from this city and Columbio town.

Sultan Kudarat, which is divided into two legislative districts, comprises 11

municipalities and one city.

The initial Namfrel tally showed outgoing Gov. Pax Mangudadatu of the Kabalikat ng Malayang Pilipino (Kampi) trailing behind former Rep. Angelo Roncal Montilla of the Nationalist People's Coalition (NPC) in the race for the first congressional district seat.

In this city, which is a known bailiwick of the NPC, Mangudadatu only managed to get 6,290 votes while Montilla received 20,492 votes. The governor topped the polls in Columbio with 7,901 votes while Montilla got 2,064.

In the gubernatorial race, Mangudadatu's son, outgoing Rep. Suharto, is also way behind NPC's Geronimo Arzagon.

Arzagon, a former mayor of this city, received 21,339 votes while the younger Mangudadatu only got 14,329.

Arzagon's running mate Joseph Ortiz is also leading the race with 17,915 votes while reelectionist Vice Gov. Donato Ligo got 13,627 votes.

In the mayoralty fight here, incumbent Mayor Lino Montilla of the NPC appeared reelected for a third term as he managed to get 17,737 votes based on Namfrel's unofficial final count. Administration candidate Atty. Ralen Bernardo of Kampi only received 4,890 votes. (Allen V. Estabillo / MindaNews)