proclaimed winners at 5:40 p.m.
SHARIFF AGUAK, Maguindanao (MindaNews/14 May) — Lakas-Kampi’s Esmael “Toto” Mangudadatu and Ismael “Dustin” Mastura are the new governor and vice-governor of Maguindano, the former winning by a slim margin over Datu Ombra Sinsuat, the latter by a comfortable lead against Datu Andal Ampatuan Sr.
But even before the Provincial Board of Canvassers could finish canvassing the last two towns, Mangudadatu and Mastura arrived at the Sangguniang Panlalawigan on the second floor of the provincial capitol at 2:34 p.m., to the applause of their supporters.
As it turned out, at around 2 p.m., word was sent to the team waiting in Buluan, Maguindanao, that South Upi was transmitting from the lobby of the second floor, just outside the Sanggunian. But as of 3:30 p.m. with Mangudadatu and Mastura already nearly an hour inside, no proclamation had been done because South Upi had yet to successfully transmit.
At 4:14 p.m. acting provincial election supervisor and chair of the Provincial Board of Canvassers Renault Macarambon announced the results of South Upi had been “successfully transmitted.”
Datu Blah results no longer matter
With 35 towns already canvassed, Mangudadatu won 153,706 votes against Sinsuat’s 141,001 and Midtimbang’s 68,586 votes or a lead of 12,705 votes.
Mastura won 173,111 votes against Ampatuan’s 142,783 or a lead of 30,328 votes.
With Datu Blah’s voting population at only 10,726 voting, lawyers of both Magudadatu and Mastura said, there is no need to canvass the results as they would not be enough to surpass the votes of the winners. Even if the Datu Blah Sinsuat votes were all given to Sinsuat and Ampatuan, Mangudadatu and Mastura would still have won.
The lawyers then asked the PBOC to proclaim the winner. But Macarambon at around 4:30 p.m. asked for an hour’s recess within which he can seek written permission from the regional director to lower the threshold from 100% or all 36 towns, to 35 towns as the machine is configured to a 100% threshold.
Macarambon said the regional Comelec director will give him the password only after the written request shall have been faxed.
Mangudadatu and Mastura were finally proclaimed winners at 5:40 p.m.
33rd to 35th towns
Waiting for the election returns from the 36 towns took so long due to defective CF cards, laptops, and human interventions.
The 33rd town to submit its election returns was Buldon at 11:44 p.m. Thursday while the 34th, Pagalungan, had its sealed compact disc opened at 9 a.m. Friday. The 35th, South Upi, finally transmitted around 3:30 pm. from the second floor lobby just outside the Sannguniang Panlalawigan, after several attempts.
Buldon went for the Sinsuat-Ampatuan team (6,492 and 6,383 votes respectively). The Mangudadatu-Mastura team got 2,962 and 2,622 votes respectively. Pagalungan went for the Mangudatu-Mastura tandem. Mangudadatu got 3,337 votes against Sinsuat’s 3,157and Midpantao Mditimbang’s 1,364. South Upi went for Mangudadatu-Mastura with 6,130 and 5,053 votes, respectively.
Mangudadatu won in 17 towns – in Ampatuan, site of the November 23, 2009 massacre involving 58 persons, 32 of them from the media, that implicated key leaders in the Ampatuan clan; Buluan, the Mangudadatus’ hometown; General SK Pendatun; Kabuntalan, Mangudadatu, Northern Kabuntalan, Pagagawan, Pagalungan, Paglat, Pandag, Parang, Rajah Buayan, South Upi, Sultan Kudarat, Sultan Mastura, Sultan Sa Barongis and Upi.
Midtimbang won in six towns – Datu Abdullah Sangki, Datu Anggal Midtimbang, Datu Salibo, Datu Saudi, Guindulungan and Talayan.
Sinsuat won in 12 towns – Barira, Buldon, Datu Hoffer Ampatuan, Datu Odin Sinsuat, Datu Paglas, Datu Piang, Datu Unsay, Mamasapano, Matanog, Shariff Aguak, Shariff Saydona and Talitay.
In the electoral contest for vice governor, Mastura won in 22 towns – in Ampatuan, Buluan, Datu Abdullah Sangki, Datu Anggal Midtimbang, General SK Pendatun, Guindulungan, Kabuntalan, Mangudadatu, Northern Kabuntalan; Pagagawan, Pagalungan, Paglat,Pandag, Parang,, Rajah Buayan, South Upi, Sultan Kudarat, Sultan Mastura, Sultan Sa Barongis, Talayan, Talitay, Upi.
Ampatuan won in 13 towns – in Barira, Buldon, Datu Hoffer Ampatuan, Datu Odin Sinsuat, Datu Paglas, Datu Piang, Datu Salibo, Datu Saudi Ampatuan, Datu Unsay, Mamasapano, Matanog, Shariff Aguak, Shariff Saydona. (Carolyn O. Arguillas/MindaNews)