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Muslim groups back Duterte, ask Aquino for clean polls

By: - Reporter / @neltayao
/ 06:13 AM May 08, 2016

A group of Muslim leaders attending the miting de avance of Davao Mayor Rodrigo Duterte yesterday called on President Aquino to “leave an honorable legacy” and ensure that a “clean electoral process” will take place.

The Quiapo-based organization Khayra Ummah Islamic Call and Guidance Inc. (NMPOC) said they feared widespread cheating in the coming polls in favor of the administration’s presidential candidate  Mar Roxas.

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“President Aquino, please let the people decide who they want to govern [the country]. Stop pushing for Roxas. We want Duterte,” Datu Amerol-Gulam M. Ambiong, national chair of the NMPOC, said in an interview yesterday.

Mohammad Elias Tago P. Lucman, president of the group, said a Roxas win would only sow seeds of division among the Filipino people, adding that the country’s Muslim community was backing Duterte.

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Fears of cheating

Ambiong said their fears of poll cheating stemmed from  incidents reported in Lanao del Sur where, when the vote-counting machines (VCM) were recently tested, votes for Duterte reflected Roxas’ name. Ambiong said this happened to at least five people in Tamparan, Lanao del Sur.

“Now that can’t be a mistake. If it was just one or two, then that could be dismissed as an error—but we have five people saying the same thing,” said Lucman. “That means the [VCMs] could already be set up [to reflect Roxas as winner].”

“To be honest, we Muslim leaders talked about the possibility of a Roxas win. It could mean chaos for the Philippines,” said Ambiong.

Ambiong claimed 55 Muslim organizations with eight million followers were backing Duterte.

“It is only now the whole Muslim population has united in support of one candidate. We are united in the belief that change will start with Duterte, who will put a stop to our country’s biggest problems: illegal drugs and syndicate crimes, like kidnapping,” said Lucman.

‘Duterte for peace, unity’

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“We love Duterte because he is for peace and unity,” said Maclin Macabatu, president of the Manila Muslim-Christian Peacemakers Association.

The Muslim leaders were part of the crowd that occupied the Quirino Grandstand Saturday afternoon for Duterte’s miting de avance.

As for their vice presidential candidate, Ambiong said their groups will support Sen. Bongbong Marcos, not Duterte’s running mate Sen. Alan Peter Cayetano.

Asked if a Duterte-Marcos tandem would increase the chances of a martial law repeat, Lucman said: “If we look at what happened during martial law, when discipline and illegal drugs were not a problem—if that will happen again, then we are for [martial law].

“But the abuses committed by the military, we are against that,” he added.

“But Duterte and Marcos wouldn’t do that (declare martial law). It’s just black propaganda,” Ambiong said.

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TAGS: Benigno Aquino III, duterte, Elections 2016, Khayra Ummah Islamic Call and Guidance Inc., NMPOC, President Aquino, Rodrigo Duterte
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