Vice-mayoralty post in Datu Unsay town still hotly contested

DATU UNSAY, Maguindanao (MindaNews/15 Feb) – It’s been almost a year since the last elections, but the vice-mayoralty post in this town is still being hotly contested between followers of the Mangudadatus and the Ampatuans.

This week a temporary restraining order was issued by the Cagayan de Oro-based Court of Appeals so that Alim Satol, a known partymate and ally of Mayor Bai Reshal Ampatuan (wife of Maguindanao Massacre prime suspect Andal “Unsay” Ampatuan Jr.), could reassume his post as vice mayor.

The Court of Appeals junked the decision earlier made by Regional Trial Court Branch 15 in Cotabato City which ruled that Kamaruddin Ibrahim, a Mangudadatu ally, won in the vice-mayoralty race.

In his installation to office last January 31, Ibrahim was accompanied by Maguindanao Gov. Esmael Mangudadatu and sworn to office in the presence of officials from the Department of Interior and Local Government and Commission on Elections.

At that time, security was tense as supporters of both camps roamed outside. It was also at this time that the front door of the municipal hall was forcibly opened since its key was nowhere to be found.

Satol’s camp argued that Ibrahim is a registered voter of Tacurong City in Sultan Kudarat province and not in Datu Unsay town.

The CA ruling dated February 11, copies of which were furnished to the opposing parties, has ruled that “effective immediately,” Satol should assume as vice mayor of Datu Unsay.

But Ibrahim’s lawyer, Jose Estaniel, says they are not giving up and maintained his client is the legitimate winning candidate. “Satol, after his disqualification, has no more personality in the case, he has no more political interest and he cannot assume anymore,” he said.

Meanwhile, Ibrahim told reporters in the vice mayor’s office that he is willing to step down if indeed a lawful decision will be decided by the court.

As of the moment, the town remains in limbo as no services could be rendered because of the situation. (Ferdie Cabrera / MindaNews)