ARMM cops turning away ‘flying voters’ brought in by local politiciansBy Charlie Señase
Philippine Daily Inquirer
COTABATO CITY, Philippines – Police authorities in the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao have been intercepting suspected flying voters as the end of the 10-day general list-up of voters draws near.
The general registration being held to replace the bloated ARMM voters’ list of 1.7 million started Monday and will end on Wednesday.
Chief Supt. Mario Avenido, ARMM police director, said policemen manning checkpoints have also learned – since Monday last week – how to easily spot vehicles carrying suspected flying voters.
These vehicles, he said, would normally be overloaded and were registered in nearby regions.
In Maguindanao, Senior Supt. Marcelo Pintac, the provincial police director, said cases of hakot (hauled or herded) registrants entering the province were still being reported until Monday.
He said their investigation showed that those flagged down and turned away claimed they were promised P1,000 each if they registered as Maguindanao voters.
Pintac said investigators still have to identify who actually contacted the transients.
Khadafeh Mangudadatu, a member of the ARMM legislative assembly, said suspected flying voters from nearby North Cotabato tried registering in Datu Anggal town in Maguindanao.
Pintac said Shariff Aguak town policemen also held commuters from Sultan Kudarat and South Cotabato provinces, after they admitted to have been lured to register for a fee.
Most of the herded non-Maguindanao residents were assigned mostly as registrants of the second district, a known Ampatuan political bailiwick.
Avenido said the hakot problem in Lanao del Sur has also reached the attention of the regional police office.
In Lanao del Sur, Commissioner Armando Velasco, who has been overseeing the general registration in the province, said he has placed the municipal hall of Lumbaca-Unayan under the control of the Commission on Elections (Comelec) following threats of more violence that could disrupt the voter list-up.
Velasco also ordered that “all incumbent officials of the Lumbaca-Unayan must not be found in the registration centers.”
The Lumbaca-Unayan town hall has been designated as a registration center. It is also where its current mayor, Itomama Guro, reportedly holds residence.
Last week, 17-year-old Said Guro, a relative of Itomama’s, was killed by suspected hired assassins after he led efforts to block flying registrants from being included in the voter list-up and demanded that the registration be moved to a neutral ground.
The Guro clan is split over political affiliations. With a report from Ryan Rosauro, Inquirer Mindanao