TUBARAN, Lanao del Sur (MindaNews / 25 May) – The special elections held in this municipality held Tuesday, under the watchful eye of 600 troops from the police and the military in full battle gear and supported by armed vehicles, were generally peaceful, with the winners announced the morning after.
Brig. Gen. Jose Ma. Cuerpo II, commander of the Army’s 103rd Infantry Brigade, said there were no reported flying voters in the three polling centers – Tangkal Elementary School, Buribid Elementary School and Tubaran Proper Elementary School.
He said residents were able to vote freely and all were already able to cast their ballots by 4 p.m. without major problems.
Early in the morning, helicopters and Air Force planes flew over Tubaran to show possible saboteurs who plan to disrupt the special elections that the military is serious in keeping the elections peaceful, Cuerpo said.
The Commission on Elections declared a failure of elections in this town after supporters of reelectionist Mayor Yassin Papandayan prevented the transport of election materials in protest of the move to recluster polling precincts.
On Tuesday, policemen who served as members of the board of election inspectors and the poll watchers of candidates waited until 7 p.m., the designated closing time of the voting centers.
However, the situation became tense around 6:45 p.m. when a power interruption plunged the polling centers into darkness. As it turned out, a fallen bamboo tree tripped the electrical line.
Linemen from the Lanao del Sur Electric Cooperative came to restore electricity, and power was back in 10 minutes.
The vote counting machines were transported to the provincial capitol in Marawi City at 11 p.m.
At 5 a.m. Wednesday, election assistant Ibrahim T. Abu declared that incumbent Mayor Khalid Yassin Papandayan of Lakas-CMD won the mayoralty race with 3,049 votes against Mohammed Nashif Madkih of Aksyon Demokratiko, who got 871 votes.
In the vice mayoralty race, incumbent Tongco Aksara of Lakas-CMD won against Muamar Papandayan, a relative of the reelected mayor.
The winning councilors, in order, are Mama Abdulfatah, Ontaw Ayaon, Abulkhair Datumaong, Mamasao Abdul Kibad, Bonbon Alim, Haron Osio, Amer Pindaton and Jamal Abdallah.
Maj. Gen. Valeriano de Leon, director for operations of the Philippine National Police, visited Tubaran Tuesday to observe the special elections. “What is important here is that nobody can create trouble so the people can vote peacefully,” he told reporters.
Sisters Rainidah and Raihanah Dalidig, residents of Tubaran, said the election was peaceful and that they were happy it was finally over.
“We have voted for the candidates of our choice without anybody dictating us whom to vote for,” said Raihanah.
Cuerpo said he hopes that the winning candidates will lead with their hearts and minds for the people and for the betterment of the municipality and the province. (Marivic Omandam Davis / MindaNews)