Thursday Sep, 28 2023 04:51:45 AM

BARMM exec appeals for sobriety during polling day

NDBC BANTAY HALALAN 2023 • 23:00 PM Fri May 10, 2019
John Unson
PNP chief Gen. Oscar Albayalde while at PRO-BARMM headquarters.

COTABATO CITY -- Officials are confident of peaceful elections on Monday in the five Bangsamoro provinces where majority of voters are observing the Ramadhan season.

Muslims fast from dawn to dusk during the Ramadhan, lasting for one lunar cycle or about 28-29 days, and focus on charitable acts, prayers and reparations for wrongdoings

Abdullah Cusain, deputy executive secretary to Chief Minister Hadji Ahod Ebrahim of the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao, said Friday the BARMM leadership is calling on partisans in Maguindanao, Lanao del Sur, Basilan, Sulu and Tawi-Tawi to abide by the Omnibus Election Code.

Ebrahim, chairman of the Moro Islamic Liberation Front, earlier said the MILF, as an organization, has no political involvement in Monday’s elections but will allow its members to participate in the exercise.

“The BARMM leadership is urging voters in the Bangsamoro region to adhere to the tenets of Ramadhan like honesty, patience and reconciliation when they exercise their right of suffrage,” said Cusain, who is Ebrahim’s spokesperson.

He said Ebrahim also wants the local communities to refrain from using the social media to malign the rivals of their favored candidates for municipal and provincial positions.

“The appeal also goes to rival political quarters,” Cusain said.

The police and military have tagged Lanao del Sur as BARMM’s hotbed of political quarrels on Facebook.

Enemy camps have been using Facebook since last week to drumbeat accusations of vote-buying, which is an election offense, and intimidation of voters using private armed groups.

Irate provincial officials have dismissed as baseless the clamors by certain groups for the poll body to suspend the elections in Lanao del Sur due to alleged vote-buying by politicians.

The Lanao Sur Military and Police Retirees Reform Movement that emerged only last week have urged the Commission on Elections to suspend the elections in Lanao del Sur and its capital, Marawi City due to anomalies.

The group even drafted a manifesto recommending the appointment of caretakers for local elective posts if Comelec declares failure of election in the two areas.

There are talks spreading around since Wednesday purporting that the group is hostile to Lanao del Sur Vice Gov. Mamintal Adiong, Jr., a candidate for governor of Lanao del Sur.

Among those complaining about the alleged election irregularities is Salic Dumarpa, whose wife lost to Adiong’s brother, Ansaruddin, in a previous bout for the congressional seat in the first district of Lanao del Sur.

In a statement, Adiong said complaints of vote-buying should be filed at the Comelec for proper litigation.

Adiong said complaints should be supported with evidence and filed at the proper forum, not posted on social media, to avoid escalating tension among rival camps.

Adiong said political quarrels being hyped through Facebook can only escalate anti-Moro prejudice by sectors outside of BARMM provinces.

“It is Ramadhan. We are not supposed to do this during the Ramadhan and during all the ordinary months in the Islamic lunar-based Hijrah calendar because it is sinful to throw accusations at each other without basis,” Adiong said.

He said the provincial government of Lanao del Sur supports the election security efforts of the BARMM regional government.

Lt. Gen. Ariel Dela Vega, commander of the Western Mindanao Command, said Friday they have enough personnel to secure, along with units of the Police Regional Office-BARMM, all pooling sites in Marawi City and in all of the 39 towns in Lanao del Sur.

“We are reminding politicians and voters there that Mindanao is under martial law that provides the WestMinCom and the PRO-BARMM stronger muscles that can be flexed in performing joint security missions under the guidance of Comelec,” Dela Vega said.

Police Gen. Oscar Albayalde, chief of the Philippine National Police, inspected on Thursday hundreds of combat-ready PRO-BARMM personnel for deployment to politically-troubled towns in the Bangsamoro region.

In a message, Albayalde directed all members of PRO-BARMM to stay neutral in performing their peacekeeping missions on Monday.

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