As expected, it’s 12-0 for TU in Maguindanao; Singson tops Senate slate

SHARIFF AGUAK, Maguindanao (MindaNews/16 May) – As expected, Maguindanao province delivered 12-0 in favor of the Administration’s Team Unity, with Ilocos Sur Gov. Luis “Chavit” Singson leading the slate in about 73 percent of the precincts canvassed at the provincial capitol here as of 11 a.m. today.

Voter turnout in the province was very high compared with others nationwide, with no town lower than 90 percent, Engr. Norie Unas,
provincial administrator, and Maguindanao election supervisor Atty. Lintang Bedol told MindaNews separately.

Maguindanao has a total of 212,795 registered voters.

In Shariff Kabunsuan, a province carved out of Maguindanao and expected also to deliver 12-0, provincial canvassing had not started
as of 3 p.m. as no certificate of canvass had arrived from any of the 11 towns and the provincial board chair earlier appointed had
declined. Shariff Kabunsuan has 198,278 registered voters.

In Maguindanao, according to the certificates of canvass Bedol showed MindaNews, voter turnout was so high in Datu Unsay town that only 22 voters were unable to cast their vote.

The town, carved out of Shariff Aguak, has 10,172 registered voters, of whom 10,150 were reported to have voted last Monday. In Datu Anggal Midtimbang, 5,212 voters were reported to cast their vote out of 5,273 registered voters.

Unas said the vote as of 11 a.m. today represents 815 out of 1,115 precincts from 17 of 22 municipalities.

Singson got 136,044 votes while the 12th placer, Sultan Jamalul Kiram, got 92,234.

Kiram’s vote, howver, is still more than twice the number of votes received by 13th placer, Francis Escudero (39,824) of the Genuine

MindaNews had earlier reported that along the 27-kilometer stretch of the highway here from the boundary of Shariff Kabunsuan to the boundary of Sultan Kudarat province, no single poster of the Genuine Opposition (GO) can be found.

In the Team Unity’s ranking in Maguindanao, senatorial candidate Miguel Zubiri landed second after Singson with 133,321 votes followed by Tito Sotto (132,103); Rafael Recto (130,286); Joker Arroyo (126,597) who tied with Michael Defensor (126,597); Prospero Pichay was number 7 at 125,150 votes followed by movie actor Cesar Montano (121,775); Edgardo Angara (99,341); Tessie Aquino-Oreta (99,266); Vic Magsaysay (94,129) and Kiram with 92,234.

Among the Genuine Opposition bets, Escudero was followed by Honasan with 32,236 votes; Loren Legarda (31,456); Aquilino Pimentel III at 29,533; and Manuel Villar (27,091).

Unas said they were still awaiting the returns from the five towns of Shariff Aguak (where the provincial capitol and provincial board of
canvassers are located), Buluan, Mangudadatu, Talitay and South Upi.

Shariff Aguak is the vote-richest among towns with 27,386 voters;  Buluan, 10,118; Mangudadatu, 4,683; Talitay, 4,121; and South Upi with 12,272; or a total of 58,580 voters.

Unas credits the 12-0 sweep to “to our 12-0 campaign.” Singson’s victory in Maguindanao, he explained, is because “people here can
relate Chavit with the gov (Andal Ampatuan), both of them are governors and both of them are strong-willed.”

Also, he added, Singson visited Maguindanao twice or thrice during the campaign period.

The big number of votes for Pichay (number 2 as of 10 a.m., but 7 as of 11 a.m.) and Zubiri he credits to the fact that they are
Mindanawons. He did not explain why Kiram, a Mindanawon and a Muslim like most Maguindanaoans, landed 12th.

The votes for Sotto, Recto and Mondanao, he explained, was due to popularity. The vote for Arroyo, he said, is because voters probably think Senator Arroyo and President Arroyo are relatives.

Unas said it was easy to focus the campaign on the national candidates because candidates in 20 of 22 towns in Maguindanao ran unopposed. The provincial slate was also unopposed.

Unlike other session halls nationwide, the newly-finished Sangguniang Panlalawigan session hall at the second floor of the
still-to-be-inaugurated Provincial Capitol, was likely the most quiet when MindaNews visited it at noon today.

The Provincial Board of Canvassers was in a huddle as it was still on recess while awaiting the arrival of the certificates of canvass from
the five towns of Maguindanao. It resumed session when a ballot box from Talitay was presented. Only the PBC chair, Bedol, vice chair
Kanguan Pendi and member/secretary Shuaib Maulana, were present when Bedol turned to the microphone and announced the resumption of session.

There were no lawyers or watchers from the political parties for the Senatorial level, just a few members of the office staff and the
Comelec’s tally recorders. (Carolyn O. Arguillas / MindaNews)