Son of MNLF leader defeats veteran in Cotabato village race
John Unson (The Philippine Star) - October 30, 2013 - 12:00am

COTABATO CITY, Philippines – A 23-year-old son of the chairman of the largest group in the Moro National Liberation Front (MNLF) defeated a veteran in Monday’s race for the chairmanship in one of the city’s barangays.

Datu Mohammad Abduljabbar Sema defeated by a wide vote margin re-electionist Jimmy Sandigan, chairman of Barangay Rosary Heights 7 here.

The newly-elected barangay chairman is also known as “Haring Bakal” among his peers and supporters.

Sema is a son of former Cotabato City vice mayor, Muslimin, chairman of the largest and most politically-active faction in the MNLF, which has actively been supporting the peace overtures of President Aquino with Southern Moro communities.

Sema’s mother, Rep. Bai Sandra Sema, is a scion of the influential Sinsuat clan in the first district of Maguindanao.

A relative of the lawmaker, Al-Haashir “Omboy” Ala, also won in his bid for a second term as chairman of the Barangay Rosary Heights 13, also a densely-populated area here.

Many of Ala’s supporters have complained of having allegedly been disenfranchised apparently to reduce his chances of wining in the elections.

Ala is son of former Assemblyman Tommy Ala of the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao, who had also served as regional director of the Department of Agriculture in Region 12.

Ala’s defeated rival, Basilio Rosal, is patriarch of his lone rival in the 2010 barangay elections.

Meanwhile, poll officials will deploy policemen as election tellers in today’s  special polls in 13 barangays in Pikit town in North Cotabato.

Joel Celis, municipal election officer, said they would utilize no fewer than 150 policemen as election tellers. 

Local poll personnel and teachers failed to administer Monday’s barangay elections due to security reasons.

Brig. Gen. Ademar Tomaro, commanding officer of the Army’s 602nd Infantry Brigade, said soldiers have “sanitized” the 13 barangays from armed partisans and members of the outlawed Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters.

Tomaro said a big Army contingent could secure the polling sites in the 13 barangays in Pikit.

“All preparations are in place. We are not taking chances,” Tomaro said.

ADEMAR TOMARO ASSEMBLYMAN TOMMY ALA OF THE AUTONOMOUS REGION BAI SANDRA SEMA BANGSAMORO ISLAMIC FREEDOM FIGHTERS BARANGAY ROSARY HEIGHTS BASILIO ROSAL COTABATO CITY DATU MOHAMMAD ABDULJABBAR SEMA DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE HARING BAKAL
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