Cops, Marines swarm Maguindanao townhall as tension grips election hearing

Police and Marine troops tightly secure the local election office in Datu Blah Sinsuat, Maguindanao as tension gripped the hearing conducted by the Election Registration Board on 19 July 2021. MindaNews photo by FERDINANDH CABRERA

DATU BLAH SINSUAT, Maguindanao (MindaNews / 19 July) – Policemen and Marine troops swarmed Monday the townhall here for security as the election fever heats up even before the filing of candidacy in October.

State security forces secured the tension-gripped townhall for the scheduled election registration hearing filed by four residents from Barangay Resa against Bai Ingrid Sinsuat.

She earlier attempted to register as a new voter of this town.

However, the petitioners claimed she was not staying in the area and had not been seen here for a long time, according to Mayor Marshall Sinsuat, her relative.

Bai Ingrid insisted she is a bonafide resident of the said town and that they have an ancestral house in Barangay Resa.

The town was named after their grandfather, Datu Blah Sinsuat.

Bai Ingrid was married to the late Datu Hoffer Ampatuan, a son of the late former Maguindanao Gov. Andal Ampatuan, Sr. Datu Hoffer was killed in 2002 following an altercation at a hotel in Cotabato City. A town in Maguindanao named after Datu Hoffer Ampatuan was created in 2009.

Bai Ingrid said the Election Registration Board of the Commission on Elections did not resolve the petition against her at the end of the day.

Before the hearing started earlier Monday morning, a commotion happened outside the townhall. The camp of Bai Ingrid claimed that two of their supporters were hurt.

Mayor Sinsuat said one of the supporters of Bai Ingrid was allegedly caught carrying a gun and was brought to the local police station for investigation.

Bai Ingrid said that her supporter has a license to carry the gun.

Bai Ingrid and Mayor Sinsuat are relatives from the Sinsuat clan of Maguindanao.

She kept mum when asked if she is planning to run for the town’s mayoralty post.

The filing of candidacy for the 2022 national and local elections is scheduled on October 1 to 8. (Ferdinandh Cabrera / MindaNews)