Heightened alert in Lanao Norte as fears of poll violence rise

By Violeta M. Gloria
MindaNews and VERA Files

ILIGAN CITY (May 07) — Everyone is on heightened alert in Lanao del Norte, where a longstanding political dispute involving the warlord Dimaporo clan has come to a head in recent months.

The flashpoint is Pantao Ragat, a fifth-class town an hour and a half from here and bordering Lanao del Sur. Pantao Ragat is ruled by the husband-and-wife team of Lacson and Eleanor Lantud, whom the Dimaporos have been trying to unseat.

Pantao Ragat Mayor Eleanor Dimaporo Lantud is a first cousin of Rep. Abudallah Dimaporo and niece of Mindanao’s original warlord, the late Muhammad Ali Dimaporo. She became mayor in 2007, replacing her husband who slid to vice mayor after serving three terms. On his mother’s side, Lacson is related to Abdullah Mangotara, a gubernatorial rival of Dimaporo in the 1990s.