Sat. May 25th, 2019

VG Bombit denies vote-buying claim; MILF vows to protect voters from intimidation


COTABATO CITY – Lanao del Sur Vice Governor Mamintal “Bombit” Adiong Jr. has denied claims that his camp has resorted to vote-buying for his gubernatorial bid and candidacies of relatives and political allies in Marawi City and across the province.

As this developed, Abdullah “kumander Bravo” Macapaar, the feisty head of the Moro Islamic Liberation Front’s North Western Mindanao Command, reportedly issued last Monday an advisory assuring protection for voters, who may face intimidation after receiving kadori (bribe money) and voting for candidates other than the vote-buying politicians.

“Some of you (Lanao voters) may have already received the kandori (bribe money). Don’t’ let this impede your right to vote for candidates of you hearts’ choice. If bribe-givers return after elections to intimidate you for voting other candidates, please let us know. We will fight for you,” Macapaar, now an appointed minister of Bangsamoro Transition Authority (BTA), said in advisory written in Maranao dialect.

At the sideline of a recent inauguration of a new road project in his province, Vice Gov. Adiong took time in reacting to claims in the social and traditional media that his camp has allegedly resorted to bribing voters for his fourth gubernatorial bid.

Adiong was elected governor in 2007, 2010 and 2013. In 2016, he ran for vice governor and won alongside her mother, now incumbent Gov. Bedjoria Soyara Alonto-Adiong. He is now running for governor in tandem with his son, vice gubernatorial aspirant Mujam under the Lakas/Christia-Muslim Democrats.

He deemed the allegation “serious,” but dared complainants to lodge complaint in proper legal forum, “not via social media or trial by publicity.”

Adiong particularly reacted to a report published earlier in the Manila Bulletin that quoted retired police and military officials and former National Labor Relations Commissioner Salic Dumarpa as urging the President and the Commission on Elections to sanction his alleged vote-buying scheme and place the province under Comelec control.

In such report, lawyer Dumarpa said he had secured 675 affidavits from voters in nine towns of Lanao del Sur attesting to Adiong camp’s alleged dispersal of four-figure cash money and shortlists of candidates to be voted among barangay electorates.

Dumarpa alleged that the pooled bribe money was earmarked at P500 per vote for Adiong’s gubernatorial bid; P500 for his son Mujam’s vice gubernatorial run; P1,000 for his brother’s (Ansaruddin’s) reelection for 1st district congressman; P3,000 for Marawi reelection-seeking mayor Majul Gandamra; and P1,000 for Anoar Rumoros’ city vice mayoral candidacy.

In exposing the alleged anomaly, members of the so-called Lanao Sur Military and Police Retirees Reform Movement and Dumarpa proposed for the declaration of Lanao del Sur under Comelec control or a failure of election that would warrant appointment of OICs in the province’s elective positions.

But Adiong argued that “failure of election is not a legal option” and that “opportunists must not be allowed to destroy our cherished democracy…in Lanao del Sur.”

He recalled that during a meeting of their Provincial Peace and Order Council, Col. Romeo Brawner, Jr. of the 103rd Brigade, and Col. Madzgani Mukaram, provincial police director, described the campaign trend in Lanao del Sur as “relatively peaceful.” (Ali G. Macabalang)

Ali Macabalang

Ali Macabalang, Senior Correspondent of The Manila Bulletin, Tempo newspapers and various private and government media entities in different positions, one of very few Filipino Muslim scribes that newspapers readers may have noticed their bylines in various stories on different issues.