Mangudadatu rallies people behind “CHEAT Maguindanao”

COTABATO CITY (MindaNews/16 May) – Cheat? No, it’s CHEAT.

Maguindanao Governor Esmael Mangudadatu denied allegations his team resorted to election irregularities in last Monday’s elections and rallied his people behind “CHEAT Maguindanao.”

He said Maguindanao was viewed in past elections as “cheating capital,” apparently referring to the role Maguindanao, the vote-richest among the five provinces of the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao, played in controversial elections such as the 2004 Presidential and 2007 national mid-term polls where the province served as vote bank for candidates needing additional votes to join the wining circle or to top the race.

He said this is no longer true. “Kailangan (We need) CHEAT Maguindanao. Clean Honest Election And Transparent. CHEAT Maguindanao,” Mangudadatu told reporters after his proclamation as winner in the gubernatorial race late Wednesday night.

CHEAT Maguindanao. Clean Honest Election And Transparent.” he repeated onstage at the Shriff Kabunsuan Cultural Center at the ARMM compound, venue of the provincial canvassing.

Mangudadatu, who won a second term against lone opponent, Sultan Kudarat Mayor Tucao Mastura, led by at least 100,000 votes in 34 of 36 towns canvassed by the Provincial Board of Canvassers, with 195,473 votes against Mastura’s 94,678.

Outgoing Vice Governor Ismael “Dustin” Mastura, Tucao’s nephew, on Wednesday noon said they were mulling the filing of an electoral protest, claiming there was “massive vote-buying,” “terrorism” and “manipulation” of the PCOS (precinct count optical scan) machines in Monday’s polling.

Dustin lost in his bid for a seat at the Regional Legislative Assembly of the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao.

Mangudadatu told MindaNews that allegations of vote-buying and cheating are “black propaganda.”

“Walang vote-buying” (there was no vote-buying), he said, adding, they won because the people know whom to choose.

Mangudadatu said he will send the Commission on Elections a position paper to adopt the biometrics technology in the 2016 polls “para magkaroon nga mas lalong matiwasay na eleksyon” (so we can have more peaceful elections).

Following his proclamation, he appealed to his political foes to help him.

“Kung ano man ang nasabi namin na medyo masakit nung kasagsagan ng kampanyan, sana wag nang dibdibin yun” (Whatever hurting things we may have said at the height of the campaign, I hope they will not take that to heart).

He said he hopes they will help him because “amin itong Maguindanao, atin itong lahat” (this is our Maguindanao, this is all ours).

“Tulungan nila ako dahil gusto ko lumago ang Maguindanao,” (I call on them to help because I want Maguindanao to progress), he said.

Maguindanao needs a lot of help, with 58 out of 100 families estimated to be poor in 2012, according to the “First Semester Per Capita Poverty Threshold poverty incidence among Families, by Region and Province: 2006, 2009 and 2012” of the National Statistical Coordinating Board.

Nationwide, “22 out of 100 families were estimated to be poor in the 1st semester of 2012,” the NSCB said.

Lanao del Sur, the poorest province in the country, according to the NSCB report has a poverty incidence of 68.9%. Maguindanao, second poorest in Mindanao and fourth poorest nationwide, has a poverty incidence of 57.8%.

In 2006, according to the NSCB report, Maguindanao’s poverty incidence was 47.7%. In 2009, it went down to 37.6% but went up to 57.8% in 2012.

Based on the NSCB report, 48 out of 100 families in Maguindanao were estimated to be poor in the first semester of 2006. In 2009, it went down to 38 families and in 2012 went up to 58. (Carolyn O. Arguillas/MindaNews)