2 Lanao Norte towns might be placed under Comelec control

ILIGAN CITY (MindaNews/27 April) — Two towns in Lanao del Norte might be placed under the control of the Commission on Elections in view of violent incidents between contending parties, Rep. Abdullah Dimaporo of the province’s second district said.

Dimaporo, speaking in the program Balitang Panlalawigan over radio station dxLS on Monday, was referring to the towns of Pantaoragat and Matungao.

But he also said  the problem would not be solved if the police and military in these areas are supporting any candidate.

Samuel Azis, brother of Matungao Mayor Jader Azis who is seeking reelection, told reporters that his group was blocked along the highway on April 20, near the headquarters of Inurac Lantud, another candidate for mayor.

He alleged his brother’s rival shot him.

Reports said the Lantud family denied Samuel’s accusation and argued that policemen only fired warning shots to stop the alleged mauling of Kunum Radto Manguranda, a campaign officer of the Lantuds.

The Lantud camp added that Azis held Manguranda and told him to switch sides.

Inurac’s sister in law, Eleanor Lantud, is seeking reelection as mayor of Pantaoragat against Abdul Kahar Manda. Her husband is running for vice mayor against Pundato Pangunti.

Pantaoragat, a fifth class municipality with 20 barangays and a population of about 21,000, has always experienced election-related violence.

Matungao has 12 barangays and an estimated population of 10,000

Meanwhile, Salic Ibrahim, chair of the Citizen’s Coalition for ARMM for Responsible Election (CCARE) and head of Maradeca Inc., reported that an armed confrontation happened in Kapai and Tagoloan towns in Lanao del Sur between supporters of rival gubernatorial candidates.

He said shooting ensued after supporters of Solitario Ali, a candidate for governor, were prevented from posting campaign materials, leaving three persons wounded.

Ibrahim predicted more violence and the possibility of having the elections in some areas of Lanao and the ARMM postponed. He said this had been the trend in the region in previous national elections.

CCARE has conducted voters’ education in 740 of 1,152 barangays of Lanao del Sur.

Ibrahim said about 20% of the residents per barangay participated in the sessions (Violeta M. Gloria/MindaNews)