Comelec confident filing of COCs in ARMM peacefulBy Tina G. Santos
Philippine Daily Inquirer
MANILA, Philippines–The Commission on Elections has expressed confidence that the filing of certificates of candidacy next week in the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao–particularly in Maguindanao where a massacre of 58 people occurred nearly three years ago–would be peaceful and orderly.
On Monday, the five-day period for the filing of COCs for the May 2013 polls for all elective positions begins nationwide.
Comelec Chair Sixto Brillantes said they don’t see a repeat of the Maguindanao massacre, considered the worst case of election-related violence in the country which happened during the filing of COCs in Maguindanao in November 2009.
Brillantes said they did not create a special action plan on how to hold the COC filing in the ARMM, particularly in Maguindanao.
“No special preparations. We don’t expect anything to happen like the Maguindanao massacre,” Brillantes said in an interview.
The poll chief cited their experience during the general registration of voters in the region last July as the basis of his confidence that next week’s filing of COCs will also be peaceful and orderly.
“We don’t expect anything (untoward to happen) also,” said Brillantes.
It can be recalled that on the morning of Nov. 23, 2009, 58 people, including 32 journalists, were killed while they were on their way to file a certificate of candidacy for Esmael Mangudadatu, then vice mayor of Buluan town.
Mangudadatu was then challenging Datu Unsay mayor Andal Ampatuan, Jr., son of the incumbent Maguindanao governor Andal Ampatuan, Sr., in the Maguindanao gubernatorial election in 2010.
Also among the 58 people killed were Mangudadatu’s wife, sisters, lawyers, even motorists mistakenly identified as part of the convoy.