BULUAN Vice Mayor Esmael “Toto” Mangudadatu went to the office of Commission on Elections (Comelec) Commissioner Lucenito Tagle Thursday afternoon to request for security detail.
Mangudadatu's wife and sister are victims of the gruesome Maguindanao massacre, which was allegedly perpetrated by political rival Datu Unsay Mayor Andal Ampatuan Jr.
“They came here to ask that they be given security detail because all the policemen assigned in Maguindanao were all recalled. They want a detail be re-assigned to them,” said Tagle.
The Comelec official said they will grant the request of Toto. Two security personnel will be assigned per Mangudadatu family member.
“We have no security now because our security detail was relieved. We had two bodyguards given to us by Rey Sumalipao. They will be assigned back to us," noted Mangudadatu.
Sumalipao is the regional director of Comelec Autonomous Region of Muslim Mindanao (Armm).
Mangudadatu, together with his younger brother Armm Assemblyman Toy Khadafeeh, said they have requested for four to six security personnel per Mangudadatu politician.
But Tagle said the Comelec will still study whether or not they will provide additional security.
“We will discuss that in our meeting with the AFP (Armed Forces of the Philippines) and PNP (Philippine National Police) personnel...We will consider these threats in assessing whether we will grant you additional security detail,” said Tagle.
Comelec will decide within five days if the Mangudadatus will be entitled to additional security.
Nine Mangudadatus are holding political positions in the Maguindanao province including: Vice Mayor Esmael “Toto” Mangudadatu of Buluan, Maguindanao; Armm Assemblyman Toy Khadafeeh Mangudadatu; Mayor Freddie Mangudadatu of Mangudadatu, Maguindanao; Mayor Datu Sajid of Pandag, Maguindanao; Mayor Ibrahim Jong Mang of Buluan, Maguindanao; Congressman Pax Mangudadatu of the 1st district of Sultan Kudarat, Maguindanao; Governor Datu Suharto of Sultan Kudarat, Maguindanao; and Mayor Ruth Sakaluran of Lutayan, Sultan Kudarat, Maguindanao.
Azel Villanueva Mangudadatu meanwhile is running in the Municipality of President Quirino, Sultan Kudarat in the coming May elections.
A state of emergency remains hoisted over the Maguindano province two months after the Maguindanao massacre.
On Wednesday, Mangudadatu took the witness stand during the hearing for the petition for bail sought by Ampatuan Jr.
In his testimony, the Buluan vice mayor said the administration could have prevented the Maguindano massacre if they had acted early about the bullying of the Ampatuans against their political rivals.
But Deputy Presidential Spokesman Gary Olivar shrugged off the testimony of Mangudadatu blaming former Defense Secretary and presidential candidate Gilberto Teodoro Jr. and Malacañang for the alleged “bullying” by the Ampatuan clan, claiming it is understandable and expected from a grieving husband.
Olivar denied that Malacañang or Teodoro should be blamed citing that the Ampatuans rise to power started before the current administration assumed office.
Mangudadatu told the court that Malacañang officials had even dissuaded him from running against the Ampatuans in the gubernatorial race in Maguindanao.
Olivar meanwhile said the important thing at present is that long term solutions are being adopted to prevent a repeat of the incident as well as prevent the proliferation of private armies and loose firearms, which contributed to the incident.
He said the solutions include a binding peace agreement among the warring parties in Mindanao and the neutralization of private armies. (Kathrina Alvarez/With JMR/Sunnex)