By NITZ ARANCON
A COMMISSION on Elections (Comelec) official in Lanao del Sur on Wednesday denied that some 60 students from Cagayan de Oro were brought to the province to register as voters in a town.
Cairoden Usman, elections officer of Butig Lanao del Sur, also criticized the police in Cagayan de Orio for what he called as a “fabrication.”
It was Cagayan de Oro police spokesman Maj. Evan Viñas who said students, many from the Iponan National High School, were hauled off in vans from Cagayan de Oro and brought to Butig, Lanao del Sur so they could be turned into “flying voters” late last week.
“That is fabricated. It is not true. On Friday, Sept. 20, 2019, no voter applicant came to out our office to register or to ask for registration forms,” Usman said.
He offered to be investigated even as he said he could present Butig’s voters’ registration documents for examination.
“Applicants from Sept. 20 to Sept. 22 are zero as far as the Comelec office in the municipality of Butig is concerned. I would like to clear my name from this fabricated and untrue allegation,” he said.
Lt. Col. Edgar Allan Villanueva, commander of the Army’s 49th Infantry Battalion, said it would be difficult for any group to bring students from Cagayan de Oro in seven vans without being spotted by soldiers because of the military checkpoints there.
Villanueva said, “This convoy of seven vans would have been stopped at the checkpoints, and soldiers would have asked questions and checked on the identities of these young people. The more they will be questioned because they are Christians [being brought to a predominantly Muslim area].”