Jail no bar for poll ambitions of Cagas, Ampatuan in Mindanao
DIGOS CITY, Davao del Sur– Former Davao del Sur Gov. Douglas Cagas, who has been in jail for the 2010 murder of journalist Nestor Bedolido, submitted his certificate of candidacy, Wednesday, for the Davao del Sur gubernatorial race.
Cagas’ wife, 1st district Representative Mercedes Cagas– backed by some 20 supporters and the former governor’s nephew and vice gubernatorial candidate John Tracy Cagas – arrived at the provincial office of the Commission on Elections here around 9:30 a.m. to file Douglas’ candidacy papers.
Susan Sarsona, detailed election officer, said she found Cagas’ COC and supporting documents in order and accepted it around10:45 a.m.
Sarsona said despite being in jail and facing accusation of murder, Cagas could run in an election because he had not been found guilty as charged.
“He is not yet convicted,” Sarsona said.
As of 12 noon Wednesday, only Cagas, running under the Nacionalista Party, and a lesser known candidate – Ronald Banac – had filed their COCs for the gubernatorial race.
The other expected candidate, Arsenio Latasa of the Nationalist People’s Coalition had not filed his COC yet.
Lawyer Mark Fernandez, the former governor’s legal counsel, said they no longer asked the court to grant Cagas temporary liberty for the filing of the COC.
Proxy filing is as good as personal filing, provided that the applicant has an authorized representative, according to Fernandez.
“In the case of governor Cagas, he issued a special power of attorney to congresswoman Didi Cagas for the purpose,” Fernandez told reporters.
In Maguindanao, Sajid Islam Ampatuan, who is currently out on bail after being charged in connection with the 2009 Maguindanao carnage, filed his COC for the mayoral race of the Shariff Aguak town.
Sajid said he believed that being implicated in the Maguindanao massacre trial would not affect his candidacy as mayor of Shariff Aguak. He will be facing his cousin, Mayor Datu Maroph Ampatuan, and his aunt, former Mayor Zahara Ampatuan.
Sajid has teamed up with incumbent Shariff Aguak Vice Mayor Bai Anhara Ampatuan under the NPC banner.
Sajid joined politics in 2003 and was elected vice mayor of Datu Unsay town. He was later elected as Maguindanao vice governor.
Another Maguindanao massacre suspect who eventually turned state witness also filed his COC for the vice mayoral race in Sultan sa Barongis town.
Sukarno “Uka” Badal, former vice mayor of Sultan sa Barongis, said he was running under the Liberal Party.
Sultan sa Barongis is among the five towns in Maguindanao listed by both police and military as possible “areas of immediate concern.” SFM
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