Police tag 11 areas in Maguindanao ‘hot spots’Inquirer Mindanao
GENERAL SANTOS CITY – Police authorities in Maguindanao consider 11 of the province’s 36 towns as potential flashpoints for violence with the start of the election period, an official said.
Senior Superintendent Jaime Pido, Maguindanao police director, said six of the potential hotspots were identified as bailiwicks of the Amnpatuan clan, whose patriarch and several other members were implicated in the 2009 massacre of 58 people – including 32 journalists and two lawyers.
The massacre was related to the gubernatorial bid of then Buluan town vice mayor Esmael Mangudadatu against Unsay Ampatuan Jr., also known as Datu Unsay and then mayor of a town bearing his name.
Andal Sr., Unsay and his brothers, and a number of relatives and supporters were arrested for the gruesome incident.
Mangudadatu eventually won the elections.
Pido said being closely watched,
where security was also tightened, were the towns of Pagalungan, Shariff Aguak, Mamasapano, Paglat, Datu Unsay, Shariff Saydona, Datu Hoffer, Datu Salibo, Datu Saudi Ampatuan, Sultan Mastura and Sultan Kudarat.
“Our security plan is already in place to ensure peaceful and orderly election in the province,” Pido said by phone.
Pido said the situation in Maguindanao remains normal as of date.
But he admitted that the province’s situation is volatile.
“You know, this is one place in the region where the security situation is very unpredictable,” Pido said.
Maguindanao Governor Esmael Mangudadatu said he believed the police and the military’s security measures were already set up so that violence would be prevented with the heating up of the election period.
He admitted that the Ampatuans could still sow violence even from behind bars “because of their money” and that they still have supporters.
“Maguindanao has been under the control of a feudal and a warlord for years. Despite the fact that they were already in prison, they can still do anything they want,” he said.
But Mangudadatu said he was optimistic that “with the help of the police and military, the Comelec people can do their job without fear or bias.”
“Let the people choose the kind of leaders they want,” he said. With reports from Aquiles Zonio, Inquirer Mindanao