?Mr. Shut Up? back in Congress; It?s 8-4 for TU in Shariff Kabunsuan

During a hearing in Congress in 2000, Dilangalen repeatedly told Ilocos Sur Gov. Luis Singson to shut up to prevent him from talking against former president Joseph Estrada. Singson’s exposé on Estrada’s alleged taking of bribes from illegal gambling lords led to an impeachment case that precipitated his downfall.

In the canvassing of votes for the 2004 presidential elections, it was Dilangalen’s turn to be told to shut up by House Speaker Jose de Venecia over an argument on procedures. (ed)

Results also showed an 8-4 lead by Team Unity administration bets over the Genuine Opposition with re-electionist Senator Edgardo Angara emerging on the top spot with 114,054 votes.

Shariff Kabunsuan residents also gave their fellow Muslim Sultan Jamalul Kiram the second slot with 107,921 votes. Kiram was 12th place in Maguindanao which delivered a 12-0 win in favor of TU.

The opposition has questioned the results in Maguindanao as dubious obliging Commission on Elections Chairman Benjamin Abalos to order a probe on the conduct of elections in the province.

Loren Legarda (106,446 votes) is number three in the race. Three other GO bets landed on the “Magic 12”: Francis Escudero (85,092); Manuel Villar Jr. (80,550); and Antonio Trillanes IV (78,471).

Other TU bets who made it to the list are: Ralph Recto (102,658); Juan Miguel Zubiri (100, 280); Cesar Montano (83,984); Prospero Pichay (82,059); Joker Arroyo (80,142); and Vicente Sotto III (73,063).

Ilocos Sur Gov. Luis “Chavit” Singson who was number one in neighboring Maguindanao got only 53,682 votes in Mindanao’s newest province.

As soon as session adjourned at 1 pm Friday, soldiers hastily ushered all three members of the provincial board of canvassers to a simba armored vehicle waiting on standby outside the Sangguniang Panlalawigan Hall at the Mindanao State University compound here where the three-day canvassing was held.

The board members immediately flew to Manila after Election Commissioner Rene Sarmiento, Commissioner-in-Charge for the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao, ordered them yesterday to bring with them the COCs and other election materials “after all available COCs are canvassed”.

In a memorandum, Sarmiento ordered all materials to be brought to the PICC building where the national board of canvassers has convened “considering the volatile situation in Shariff Kabunsuan and in order to protect the integrity of canvassed COCs and other working papers.”

Dilangalen, who ran under the Partido ng Masang Pilipino, won with 165,582 votes over Lakas-CMD bet Bai Sandra Sema who garnered 87,287 votes.  The PBoC declared that, notwithstanding votes from Barira where special elections are yet to be held, Dilangalen will still win by a margin of 4,767 votes.

But no proclamations were made for the positions of governor, vice-governor and provincial board members.  

Aside from the outcome of the Barira special election, the PBoC is also yet to rule on appeals filed by opposing camps as to the exclusion of the municipal certificates of canvass from Upi, Datu Blah Sinsuat, Sultan Mastura, Datu Odin Sinsuat and Sultan Kudarat.

Lawyers objected yesterday to the PBoC's ruling to include these COCs. They alleged these have material defects, appear to be tampered or falsified and that there were discrepancies on election returns as defined under Sections 234, 235 and 236 of the Omnibus Election Code.

A total of 1,564 out of 1,631 precincts from the province’s 10 towns had been canvassed. The province has 205, 299 registered voters, but only 186,166 cast their votes on May 14.

Based on the statement of votes by municipality released by the PBoC, Datu Odin Sinsuat had 39,408 voters out of 39,687 who were able to cast their votes; Sultan Kudarat had 38,672 actual voters from out of 39,325 registered voters.  

Three candidates are vying for the gubernatorial post: incumbent Gov. Bimbo Sinsuat; Sultan Kudarat Mayor Tocao Mastura and former ARMM Governor Zacaria Candao.

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