Manila Bulletin - Comelec asked to annul poll results in Lanao del Sur

By Leslie Ann Aquino | Manila Bulletin

Due to alleged electoral fraud and irregularities, a petition has been filed at the Commission on Elections (COMELEC) seeking to annul the results of the May 13 midterm polls in the province of Lanao del Sur, including the city of Marawi.

The petition was filed by four losing gubernatorial candidates in Lanao del Sur lawyer Guiling Mamondiong (PDP-Laban), Hatta Dimaporo (Ind), Binladen Sharief (Ind), and Sultan Bob Datimbang (LPP) against Mamintal Adiong (Lakas-CMD), who was proclaimed as the winner.

In their 13-page petition, petitioners accused the respondent and his partymates of massive vote-buying before and even during the elections, through their political leaders and incumbent barangay officials.

They also claimed that there were “pre-shading” of ballots for favored specific candidates before election time with the incumbent municipal and barangay officials who are allies of the respondent.

They said the elections were also attended by events such as shading of ballots by only a few individuals despite the presence of the Electoral Boards (EBs).

Lanao del Sur elections, they furthered, featured incumbent barangay officials and policemen entering polling precincts and were even allowed to assist illiterate voters.

Flying voters also abound last May 13 after the voter registration verification machines supposedly bogged down, thus forcing EBs to resort to manual verification, they claimed.

The petitioners alleged that their poll watchers were barred from entering polling places by known supporters of Adiong and his party and that there were massive incidents of violence and terrorism that had occurred before and during Election Day.

“As elsewhere stated in this petition, fraud and other election irregularities of such a massive degree attended the May 13 elections in Lanao del Sur and Marawi City that what could have been a democratic process of ascertaining the will of the electorate was totally vitiated and muted,” the petition read.

“In view of the foregoing, there appear compelling and persuasive reasons to grant the instant petition to annul the results of the election; to declare a failure of election in the province of Lanao del Sur, including Marawi City; and to schedule a special election threat,” it further read.