Mayor claims results betray people’s voice

Photo by Armando Fenequito Jr

COTABATO CITY—Mayor Frances Cynthia Guiani-Sayadi of Cotabato City bared plans to file a protest against the results of the Bangsamoro Organic Law (BOL) plebiscite where the Yes votes won for inclusion of the city as part of the new Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (BARMM).

Sayadi, who campaigned against the city’s inclusion in the proposed autonomous region, said the votes being canvassed were not the real voice of the people of the city since many of them did not vote due to fear and harassment.

“It did not reflect the true will of the people of Cotabato City. What were those outsiders doing inside Cotabato City? Is it not that reactionary forces are prohibited under the Omnibus Election Code?” she said.

She claimed there were teachers that are supposed to serve as members of the plebiscite committee who opted out at the last minute reportedly after receiving threats.

Sayadi added that the grenade blast at the Rasalan residence and the discovery of another grenade in Rojas High School were really intended to scare voters.

The mayor also claimed thousands of Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) supporters allegedly “blocked” real voters and caused violence in some areas as well as massive disenfranchisement which, she said, added to the statistical improbability of the results in areas where MILF “outsiders” were present.

“The military and the PNP were not able to control, and so on, we have lots of irregularities to mention,” she said.

“Those who voted NO are harassed now. Where will they go? Who can protect them? ” Sayadi added.

The mayor said some lawyers in her circle are now preparing the documents and will possibly submit it before the next BOL plebiscite on February 6.

On Tuesday night, the Commission on Election (Comelec) Cotabato City has bared the votes in favor of the inclusion of the city to the BARMM garnered 36,682 over the No votes with 

24,994.

A total of 61, 676 people who cast their votes out 113, 751 registered voters in the city.