Sultan Kudarat Gov Pax is now 1st district Rep

Mangudadatu, who ran under the ruling Lakas-Christian Muslim Democrats and Kabalikat ng Malayang Pilipino (Lakas-Kampi) coalition, and five winning bets for board member as newly-elected officials of the first district were proclaimed after completing the area's canvassing at dawn today, said the governor's aide Saturnino Garcia.

Based on the Comelec's final tally, Mangudadatu won by a margin of at least 17,000 votes against political archrival Angelo Roncal Montilla of the Nationalist People's Coalition (NPC).

Mangudadatu received 69,837 votes while Montilla, a former congressman, got 52,386 votes.  

"This is a clear manifestation that the people of Sultan Kudarat were satisfied with my performance as their governor and the transparent governance that I have endeavored for the past nine years," Mangudadatu said in a radio interview this morning.

Aside from the governor, Lakas-Kampi bets also swept all five seats in the provincial board allotted for the first district, which covers the municipalities of Isulan, Lutayan, Lambayong, President Quirino, Columbio and Tacurong City.

However, the Comelec has yet to proclaim the winning candidates for governor, vice governor and the second district's representative and five board members due to the stoppage of the canvassing in the municipalities of Isulan, Kalamansig, Lebak and Senator Ninoy Aquino.

Canvassing in the four towns was earlier marred by protests and charges of massive fraud hurled against each other by the contending mayoral bets. Canvassing in Senator Ninoy Aquino town, disrupted by explosions May 16 evening, resumed at 3:40 p.m. May 21.

Mangudadatu said his son Rep. Suharto, who ran for governor, and incumbent Vice Gov. Donato Ligo are already assured of taking the province's top two positions due to their huge leads against their respective rivals.  

He said they are expecting same for Lakas-Kampi congressional bet Arnold Go and their five bets for the provincial board in the second district.

The second district covers the municipalities of Esperanza, Senator Ninoy Aquino, Bagumbayan, Kalamansig, Lebak and Palimbang.

The province used to have only one congressional district. (Allen V. Estabillo/MindaNews)