DILG orders PNP to 'maintain status quo' in Maguindanao town amid tensions

Jorge Cariño, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Nov 25 2022 04:42 PM

QUEZON CITY — The Philippine National Police (PNP) said Friday that the Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG) gave instructions to "maintain the status quo" in the town of Pandag in Maguindanao province.

The statement was made by PNP chief General Rodolfo Azurin Jr. in response to media queries about the police's action following tension in the leadership of Pandag town.

"We received guidance from our SILG (Secretary of Interior and Local Government) to maintain a status quo para hindi sila magkasakitan doon. Kasi magkakamag-anak naman ang mga 'yan, medyo siguro mga supporters lang nila ang mainit. Nagkakaintindihan naman ang magkakamag-anak," Azurin told reporters at Camp Crame in Quezon City.

(We received guidance from our SILG to maintain the status quo and thwart potential violence. I think the politicians involved won't clash, our worry is their supporters.)

The country’s top cop also clarified that the hostile situation was not a hostage situation.

“Ang nangyari diyan is nagkaroon lamang po ng tensiyon between cousins because we have conflicting resolution coming from Comelec (Commission on Elections) and coming from the RTC,” said Azurin, referring to the reported entry of Provincial Governor Bai Mariam-Sangki Mangudadatu at the mayor’s office of Pandag, where Vice Mayor Zihan Mangudadatu was holding office. 

(What happened was tension erupted between cousins because we have a conflicting resolution coming from the Comelec and the RTC.)

Zihan is currently the acting mayor of the town.

A video made rounds on social media Thursday afternoon which showed Governor Mangudadatu entering the mayor’s office and eventually grabbing Zihan's cell phone.

Zihan is the wife of Mayor Khadefe Mangudadatu, who was arrested by the Criminal Investigation and Detection Group (CIDG) last September 10 for a double murder case. He is reportedly out on bail.

"So what we did is I directed the regional director, si John Guyguyon, to ensure that both parties will have [their] own security coming from the PNP," said Azurin.

He said the regional director of the PNP has advised Zihan to hold office at the vice mayor’s office to prevent the further escalation of the conflict.

The PNP will maintain the status quo until a resolution is issued, putting an end to the question between a decision of the court and a Comelec resolution.