Piñol said Mecutuan’s killing could be related to the forthcoming heated local elections in Tulunan next year.
“The killing of a Comelec registrar was the first in North Cotabato. I won’t allow more killings in my province just because of dirty politics,” said Piñol.
The mayoral post in Tulunan was hotly contested in the 2007 elections.
At that time, two candidates — Genalyn Mangudadatu and Lani Candolada — claimed they were declared winner by the Tulunan Municipal Board of Election Committee (MBOC).
When the Comelec's first division started its investigation, it did not use any of the proclamation sheets submitted them by both parties to determine who won the election.
The Comelec ruled almost two months later, when it said that Candolada got the highest number of votes. The election returns presented for canvassing, it said, were genuine, valid, and authentic.
Candolada assumed her post as town mayor the next day.
The mayor, in a text message, has “strongly condemn(ed)” the killing but refused to comment if it was due to the ongoing rift between her and Mangudadatu.
Mangudadatu, on the other hand, could not be reached for comment.
Mecutuan was driving his Multicab on his way home to Matalam town in North Cotabato when ambushed by two unidentified men wearing ski masks aboard a motorcycle. The attack was staged along the highway in Barangay Buayan, M’lang, around 4 p.m. on Wednesday. (Malu Cadeliña Manar / MindaNews)