Soldiers check the vehicle registration of a motorcycle at a checkpoint in Basilan yesterday. Security remains tight in the province after the plebiscite on the Bangsamoro Organic Law.
John Unson/File
Prove cheating in plebiscite, Cotabato mayor asked
Alexis Romero (The Philippine Star) - February 12, 2019 - 12:00am

MANILA, Philippines — Malacañang yesterday challenged Cotabato City Mayor Cynthia Sayadi to prove her allegation that there was a conspiracy to ensure the victory of the yes vote during the plebiscite on the Bangsamoro Organic Law (BOL).

Presidential spokesman Salvador Panelo said Sayadi could go to court if she has evidence to support her claim. 

“File the appropriate charges against who... she felt violated election laws,” Panelo said.  

Asked if the mayor’s claims would be investigated, Panelo said she has to file a case in appropriate administrative bodies.

Sayadi claimed that the government and Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) conspired to ensure that Cotabato City would be included in the planned Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (BARMM).

At least 36,682 voters favored the inclusion of the city in the BARMM while 24,994 voted against it.

Sayadi, a staunch critic of the BOL, claimed many voters were intimidated and harassed by MILF men to vote in favor of the BOL.

She said most village chiefs were also asked to attend a “seminar” at an Army headquarters.

Sayadi likewise alleged that some poll workers were MILF sympathizers and not registered voters in the city. 

President Duterte campaigned for a yes vote in Cotabato, saying it would address the injustices committed against the Bangsamoro people.     

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