Poll bets in conflict-plagued Maguindanao town sign covenant

COTABATO CITY -- Aspirants for local positions in one of the conflict-affected towns in Maguindanao vowed to ensure the conduct of peaceful and orderly elections on May 13.

Candidates of Talitay town on Tuesday signed a covenant and pledged to ensure the peaceful and orderly conduct of elections.

The signing of the covenant was initiated by the Commission on Elections (Comelec) and witnessed by officials of the police, military, and other stakeholders.

“This election should be peaceful, orderly and credible,” Atty. Ernie Palanan, Maguindanao election supervisor, told the candidates.

Palanan said Comelec initiated the covenant signing because the previous electoral exercises in Talitay were marred by cheating, vote-buying, and violent incidents that caused the deaths of innocent people.

Palanan told the candidates to remind their supporters and sympathizers to follow the simple guidelines in casting their vote on May 13, which is “Pasok, Pila, Boto at Uwi (Come, Wait in line, Vote and Go home).”

He said the voters should quickly leave the voting center or else the police and military will arrest them and file charges.

Those who signed the covenant were Vice Mayor Abdulwahab Sabal, Datu Radin Ampatuan, Noraisa Sabal and Cabile Sumagka, who are vying for the mayoralty post. The other signatories are Suraida Ameril, Soraida Salilama, Kamid Buisan, and Montasir Sabal, who are seeking the vice mayoral post.

Talitay's eight-member municipal council has 32 candidates. (PNA)

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