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Nation

Comelec urged: Speed up South Upi recount

- Jose Aravilla -
More than three months after the May 10 polls, South Upi town in Maguindanao still has no mayor, prompting local Catholic Church leaders to make an appeal to the Commission on Elections (Comelec).

In a Aug. 5 letter, the Missionary Oblates of Mary Immaculate (OMI), a Mindanao-based religious congregation, urged the Comelec "to please speed up the re-canvass of votes" in South Upi.

South Upi is one of several municipalities in Mindanao where multiple candidates were proclaimed winners in mayoral races, prompting the Comelec to order recounts of votes at its central office in Manila.

In South Upi’s case, the OMI said the slow proceedings "have been taxing the community to confusion and anger because they have had a very peaceful election last May 10 and had no cause to expect something as grave as this to happen."

"The community deserves to know the rightful winners as soon as possible," it added.

The letter was signed by the different OMI priests assigned in the ARMM, including Cotabato Archbishop Orlando Quevedo, former president of the Catholic Bishops Conference of the Philippines.

Comelec chairman Benjamin Abalos promised to look into the matter. "I do not know what is the status (of the recount). I will let you know," he said in a phone interview the other day.

Abalos is the Comelec official in charge of the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao, which includes Maguindanao.

The OMI priests said the delay in the South Upi recount is giving a wrong impression to the municipality’s 80-percent lumad population, depriving them of "the justice they deserve as decent, peace-loving people."

Aside from South Upi, Talitay town in Maguindanao’s second district also still has an acting mayor designated by the Department of the Interior and Local Government pending the Come—lec resolution of its poll controversy.

AUTONOMOUS REGION

BENJAMIN ABALOS

CATHOLIC BISHOPS CONFERENCE OF THE PHILIPPINES

CATHOLIC CHURCH

COMELEC

COTABATO ARCHBISHOP ORLANDO QUEVEDO

IN SOUTH UPI

MAGUINDANAO

SOUTH UPI

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