Maguindanao del Sur election officer killed in ambush

COTABATO CITY (MindaNews / 14 February)—The election officer of the municipality of Sultan sa Barongis in Maguindanao del Sur was killed in an ambush while on his way home Monday afternoon.

Election officer Haviv Macabangen Maindan died after he suffered multiple gunshot wounds, according to lawyer Udtog Tago, provincial director of the Commission on Elections in Maguindanao.

The vehicle of election officer Haviv Macabangen Maindan after the ambush in Lambayong, Sultan Kudarat. Photo courtesy of Sultan sa Barongis-LGU

The ambush took place 2:30 p.m. in Purok Libas, Barangay Pinguiaman, Lambayong, Sultan Kudarat province. Lambayong, although in another province, is situated between the municipalities of Sultan sa Barongis and Buluan (where Maindan’s home is), both of Maguindanao del Sur.

His security escort, Rolly Dilangalen, who is also his uncle, reportedly managed to survive as he was seated in the back part of the car.

Tago said six armed suspects with long firearms positioned themselves in a bridge and fired upon Maindan’s vehicle. The latter’s vehicle was thrown off the highway and settled in a muddy grassy area.

Tago said he was able to attend the short wake period of his municipal officer before the body was sent to Maindan’s final resting place in his hometown of Pikit, Cotabato Monday evening for a Muslim burial ceremony.

He added that Maindan was a generous person and he could not believe somebody wanted him dead.

Maindan was originally assigned as election officer of Pandag, Maguindanao del Sur.

At the time of election in May 2022, he was reassigned to Mangudadatu, also in the same province, before his latest assignment in Sultan sa Barongis.

The COMELEC office in Maguindanao condemned the attack and sought a thorough investigation.

Asked if the motive could have been related to work, Tago said “it could be possible.”

Election officials in the region are prone to danger usually after elections, especially when assigned to hot spot areas.

In May last year, a female election officer of Datu Salibo town also in Maguindanao del Sur survived a broad daylight ambush. Her aide was slightly injured when gunmen, aboard a vehicle on the opposite side of the road, fired at them while traversing the national highway. (Ferdinandh Cabrera / MindaNews)