Police Arrest Controversial Poll Official In Mindanao

July 2, 2007 at 4:00 pm | Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

MAGUINDANAO (Mindanao Examiner / 02 Jul) – Philippine police arrested a controversial election official after he was tracked down at a clinic in the southern port city of Davao.

Police said Lintang Bedol, the provincial elections supervisor in Maguindanao province, did not resist arrest when nabbed late Sunday.

Maguindanao is one of several provinces in the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM), where cheating and fraud were reported during the May 14 national and local polls.

“He was arrested at a clinic in Davao City,” said Superintendent Joel Goltiao, chief of the regional police force.

The Commission on Elections (COMELEC) ordered Bedol’s arrest after he failed to show up last month at a hearing in Manila to answer investigations on the disappearance of poll documents under his custody.

Bedol said the documents were taken by somebody from his office in Shariff Aguak town. The COMELEC said Bedol repeatedly ignored summons to appear before the hearing and since then had not reported for work.

Goltiao earlier told reporters that Bedol was tracked down by policemen to his hideout, but admitted later in the day that the controversial poll official has been arrested in Davao City.

“He was arrested because we went to his hideout and served him the arrest warrant,” he said Monday morning.

Goltiao said no weapons were found from Bedol, who bragged in a clandestine television interview last week that he has twenty M16 rifles, aside from his .45-caliber and 9mm automatic pistols.

Goltiao said the poll official would be brought to Manila at anytime, but his doctor claimed that Bedol was suffering from hypertension.

Opposition politicians have accused the government of cheating and fraud to ensure victory of its 12 senatorial candidates, especially in the ARMM, which comprises Basilan, Sulu, Tawi-Tawi, Maguindanao and Lanao del Sur provinces.

Bedol has denied all charges of poll fraud in Maguindanao, where all the government senatorial candidates won by a landslide.

The governor of Maguindanao, Andal Ampatuan and his son, Zaldy Ampatuan, the governor of the ARMM, denied accusations of cheating and election fraud and said the Muslims voted straight for the government candidates.

The Ampatuan clan, one of the most influential in Mindanao, is a staunch ally of President Gloria Arroyo. (With reports from Mark Navales and Juan Magtanggol)

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