Lanao Sur posts 81% turnout in ARMM registration, with help from flying registrants

MARAWI CITY (MindaNews/20 July) – At the close of the 10-day general registration of voters for the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM), a total of 426,640 have registered in Lanao del Sur, or an 81-percent turnout, according to the Commission on Elections’ report consolidated from 309 registering machines in the province’s 39 municipalities and one city.

But Elections Commissioner Armando Velasco noted flying registrants from various places in Mindanao – particularly from the cities of Iligan and Dipolog and the provinces of Lanao del Norte, Misamis Oriental, Maguindanao and the Zamboangas – have come to Lanao del Sur to register, a report corroborated by the Army as it revealed the arrest of 90 flying registrants also on Wednesday in the town of Maguing.

In the province’s first district, which is composed of 17 municipalities and Marawi City, registrants reached 251,458, or 82.70 percent. In the second district with 22 municipalities, registrants tallied a total of 175,182, or 80.22 percent.

The Comelec report said that there was high turnout – ranging from 95 to 106 percent – in 10 municipalities, with Maguing at the top with 106 percent.

Velasco said politicians have apparently paid flying registrants with amounts ranging from P500 to P5,000, depending how far they had come from.

Aside from Maguing, the other municipalities with the highest turnout are Piagapo, 105.15 percent; Madalum, 104.67 percent; Bumbaran, 101 percent; Calanogas, 100.42 percent; Wao, 97.98 percent; Lumba Bayabao, 97.12 percent; Buadipuso Buntong, 95.93 percent; Kapai, 95.81 percent; and Marantao, 95.59 percent.

Velasco said the Election Regulatory Board will convene in October to thresh out the flying registrants, some of whom are reportedly minors. But he said that during a Comelec en banc meeting, the commissioners had agreed that the cleansing process should be done earlier, before the ERB will convene.

Col. Daniel Lucero, commander of the 103rd Infantry Brigade based here earlier led in apprehending 90 flying registrants in Maguing town, some of whom were reportedly non-Maranaos from Misamis Oriental and Iligan City who were among those affected by Typhoon Sendong and risked registration for the money.

Lanao del Sur Gov. Mamintal Adiong Jr. said he was not satisfied of the registration because of the “high turnout” that was a result of “hakot” (hauling) involving flying registrants, even minors. “I am urging the Comelec to do their part to cleanse the list of registrants before [the meeting of] the Election Regulatory Board,” he said.

Velasco assured that the Comelec will do its part and to file charges against those responsible in facilitating the flying registrants.

Lucero reported that during the 10 days of the ARMM registration of voters, two were reported killed and six others were wounded in separate incidents in registration centers in the municipalities of Bayang, Butig, Lumba Kaunayan, Kapatagan, Lumba Bayabao and Bayang.

Among the fatalities was Usman Domado, a former barangay chair in Lumbayanague who was shot dead along the national highway of Saguiaran town. Domado was reportedly responsible in halting three vehicles loaded with alleged flying registrants Wednesday morning. The suspect fled and eluded arrest, Lucero said.

The electoral exercise took its toll among Comelec employees who were brought to Lanao del Sur from their respective posts elsewhere.

Velasco reported that Allan Simbajon, 58, an election officer from Alcoy town in Cebu and assigned in Tuburan town for the registration in Lanao del Sur, was confined in one of the hospitals in Iligan City on Tuesday after suffering from hypertension. It reportedly led to paralyzation of half of Simbajon’s body. Velasco said the Comelec will shoulder hospital and other expenses. (MindaNews)