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Comelec urged to resolve poll crisis in Maguindanao town

Sultan Sa Barongis, Maguindanao—Residents of this town have appealed to the Commission on Elections to resolve an electoral controversy here between a protesting mayoralty bet in May 2019 and the vice-mayor, succeeding the deceased elected mayor.

The camp of Mayor Alfizzar Angas, who has succeeded his uncle who died late last year of lingering ailment, said they were hopeful the Comelec First Division will resolve the case they have appealed from a previous court decision.

Ronald Torres, counsel for Angas, said he was hopeful the First Division would resolve the case on the basis of merit.

Former Mayor Allandatu Angas, father of the incumbent mayor, said a court-issued temporary restraining order was about to lapse, and that any resolution by the First Division can by default favor their opponent, former Maguindanao Board Member Mamatanto Mamantal.

The younger Angas said he was very much humiliated by the unexpected remarks uttered on his personality allegedly by Comelec Commissioner Rowena Guanzon during a hearing she presided two weeks ago on the poll case.

Angas said because of the incident, he doubted whether Guanzon could objectively handle the case. 

His lawyers have contested a decision of a regional trial court annulling the results of elections in two barangays from the May 2019 elections.

Angas said as a young father, he held child rights advocates like Guanzon in high respect, noting that his town is a consistent national recipient of Galing Pook Award on Child-Friendly Local Governance, including the 2019 Seal of Good Local Governance Award for the same category.

Guanzon, who graduated on top of her class in the University of the Philippines School of Law, is an ardent advocate of women and children’s rights, having written books and delivered scholarly papers on the topic in various forums.

Angas succeeded his late uncle, Mayor Ramdatu Angas, as vice-mayor of the town. The deceased mayor’s rival had protested his proclamation by asking the court to nullify all 2,080 votes cast in two barangays.

Angas, 27, during a poll-protest hearing that Guanzon presided for the Comelec First Division last Wednesday, asked his lawyers if he had been named respondent in a “second wave” of cases in connection with the November 23, 2009 Maguindanao Massacre.

The mayor recalled to reporters that during the time when the massacre was all over the airwaves of radio and TV newscasts, he had just turned 17 years old as a college student in Far Eastern University in Manila.

Angas said during the same hearing, Guanzon asked his lawyer to allow him to answer her question, and that he said that none of his family members was involved in any crime.

He also said Guanzon accused him during the hearing of threatening her, but as to how, she did not elaborate, he recalled.

The Quezon City Regional Trial Court Branch 221 has resolved the Maguindanao Massacre by multiple conviction and some acquittals last on December 19, 2019.

“Di na bale yung sinabi niya na (I can swallow being slandered like) ‘mukha kang demonyo’ (you look like a demon),” which, he said, Guanzon told him during the hearing last week. But the accusation on the alleged threat, he said, should be made public for the welfare of everyone concerned, including my family, and the Filipino public,” Angas said.

Asked to elaborate, the mayor said: “I do not know her number, and I will never do that. We can’t get or gain anything from doing that but we would lose everything if we did.”

Topics: Commission on Elections , Comelec , Sultan Sa Barongis , Maguindanao , Mayor Alfizzar Angas
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