COTABATO CITY (MindaNews / 20 January) – The Commission on Elections (Comelec) first division under Commissioner Maria Rowena Guanzon has canceled the certificate of candidacy of a mayor in Maguindanao who is running for governor of Sultan Kudarat province.
The Comelec upheld the petition against Datu Ali Pax Mangudadatu, incumbent mayor of Datu Abdullah Sangki town in Maguindanao, filed by another gubernatorial candidate, Sharifa Akeel-Mangudadatu, for alleged lack of residency.
“Let the records of the case be forwarded to the Law department of the Commission for the conduct of a preliminary investigation relative to the election offense aspect of this case,” the Comelec said in the decision dated Jan. 18.
Commissioner Marlon Casquejo, another member of the first division, issued a dissenting opinion on the decision.
The decision means a sure victory for Sharifa Akeel-Mangudadatu as no other candidate is vying for the post.
Mayor Mangudadatu has yet to issue a statement on the ruling as of Thursday afternoon.
The petitioner, a former beauty titlist, is the wife of Maguindanao Second District Representative Esmael “Toto” Mangudadatu.
The mayor is the son of Maguindanao Gov. Bai Mariam Sangki-Mangudadatu and Sultan Kudarat Gov. Suharto “Teng” Mangudadatu, cousin of Rep. Mangudadatu.
The congressman is challenging the reelection bid for Maguindanao governor of his cousin’s wife. (Ferdinandh B. Cabrera/MindaNews)