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Maguindanao Massacre

Comelec disqualifies 55 bets in Maguindanao

January 17, 2010 9:27pm

At least 55 re-electionist politicians in Maguindanao province had been disqualified due to their failure to ensure that they are registered voters in their respective municipalities.

“The Commission resolves to disqualify the foregoing candidates for not being registered voters of the respective municipalities where they seek to be elected," the Commission on Election (Comelec) said in a minute resolution.

Based on Comelec records, 42 of the disqualified candidates are under the administration party Lakas-Kampi-CMD, while the other 13 are running as independents.

Maguindanao is the site of a grisly election-related massacre of 57 people last November 23, a carnage blamed on the powerful Ampatuan clan who, prior to the incident, were considered strong allies of the Arroyo administration in the province.

Three Ampatuans - Datu Unsay mayor Andal Ampatuan Jr., the prime suspect in the massacre; his brother Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM) governor Zaldy Ampatuan; and the clan patriarch former Maguindanao governor Andal Ampatuan Sr. - were kicked out of the party in connection with the carnage.

The clan, whose members hold many significant local government positions in the province, has repeatedly denied involvement in the crime.

Among the disqualified Lakas-Kampi-CMD members in the province are one vice-mayoralty and three councilor candidates from Datu Saudi Ampatuan, while another vice mayoralty bet and nine candidates for councilors were ousted in Shariff Saydona Mustapha town.

In the provincial capitol of Shariff Aguak, those disallowed to run included one candidate for mayor, one vice mayor and six councilors, while in Datu Salibo town, one mayor, one vice mayor and eight councilor candidates were also disbarred. All are members of the ruling party.

In Datu Unsay, the Comelec disqualified one candidate for mayor, one for vice mayor and eight councilors of Lakas-Kampi as well as one aspirant for mayor, one vice mayor and seven councilors.

Comelec also disqualified four independent candidates in Pagalungan that includes one aspirant for mayor and three councilors.

The Local Government Code of 1991 states that “an elective local official must be a registered voter in the barangay, municipality, city, or province or, in the case of a member of the sangguniang panlalawigan, sangguniang panlungsod, or sangguniang bayan, the district where he intends to be elected."

Apart from disqualification, the candidates are also facing election offense for violating the Omnibus Election Code (OEC).

Under Section 74 of the OEC candidates are mandated to state in the Certificates of Candidacy their complete eligibility to run for the position as well as the precinct number where they are registered as a voter.

If proven guilty of election offense, the penalty carries an imprisonment of one to six years, disqualification to hold public office and will not be allowed to exercise their right to vote. - KBK, GMANews.TV
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