Some Maguindanao, Lanao del Sur areas may be placed under Comelec control

RG Cruz, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Apr 21 2022 04:56 PM

Residents in Sultan Kudarat look for their names from the Commission on Elections (Comelec) list of voters for the Bangsamoro Organic Law (BOL) plebiscite at the Simuay Junction Crossing Elementary School, Jan. 21, 2019. Jonathan Cellona, ABS-CBN News/File 
Residents in Sultan Kudarat look for their names from the Commission on Elections (Comelec) list of voters for the Bangsamoro Organic Law (BOL) plebiscite at the Simuay Junction Crossing Elementary School, Jan. 21, 2019. Jonathan Cellona, ABS-CBN News/File 

MANILA — The Commission on Elections (Comelec) said on Thursday it might place some areas in Maguindanao and Lanao del Sur under its control to prevent further violence weeks before the May 9 polls.

"In Maguindanao, we have identified 12 hotly contested municipalities... Pag lumala 'yan mapipilitan akong i-declare 'yan under Comelec control," said Comelec chairman Saidamen Pangarungan.

(If that worsens, I will be forced to place those under Comelec control.) 

"Ganun rin sa Lanao del Sur like Marawi, at saka Butig binabanbatayan namin yan," he added. 

(The same goes for parts of Lanao del Sur like Marawi and Butig. We are monitoring them.) 
 
The Comelec has not released its list of areas of concern, but revealed Tuesday that Tubaran and Malabang towns in Lanao del Sur have been under Comelec control since March 25, 2022.

“They recommended that Malabang should be under Comelec control kasi ang dami nang namatay (because many have died). Only last week 7, before that 3. These are close relatives of the contending mayoral candidates,” Pangarungan said.

But he rejected plans to declare Pilar, Abra under Comelec control.

“I consulted with the AFP and the PNP just like this morning, I talked to them and asked their opinion if there is a need to declare Pilar under Comelec control. Sabi nila hindi (they said no), and this was confirmed by our regional election director kaya (so) I decided to not pursue the plan anymore," Pangarungan said.

As Comelec chairman, Pangarungan has the authority to unilaterally declare an area under Comelec control in "urgent and meritorious cases," bypassing the poll body's gun ban panel. 

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