GENERAL SANTOS CITY, Philippines – The lawyer of Sultan Kudarat Governor Suharto Mangudadatu’s son Pax Ali on Friday, May 6, cried foul over what he called a disinformation campaign against the gubernatorial candidate, following reports about a supposed arrest warrant for perjury issued against his client by a Makati regional trial court.
Various local media reports said a Makati court issued the arrest warrant against the younger Mangudadatu on Sunday, May 1, which was also Labor Day.
It was allegedly issued by Judge Ricardo Moldez II of Regional Trial Court Branch 235 in Makati City with a supposed bail bond set at P72,000.
On May 2, the Commission on Elections en banc denied the motion for reconsideration filed by Mangudadatu, the standard-bearer of the Lakas-Christian-Muslim Democrat in Sultan Kudarat, and upheld the 4-2 vote of its 1st Division in January that canceled the gubernatorial aspirant’s candidacy for misdeclaring his residency.
Mangudadatu’s lawyer, Cyrus Toreña, brushed off the reports about the issuance of a warrant of arrest by a Makati court, calling it a fabrication.
“There is no truth to all these. Otherwise, we should have been informed about the case,” Toreña said.
He said Mangudadatu was pursuing his bid to succeed his father despite the Comelec en banc ruling, adding that they were prepared to bring their case all the way to the Supreme Court (SC).
Campaigning in President Quirino town earlier, Pax Ali took a swipe at his lone rival, former beauty queen Sharifa Akeel Mangudadatu.
“Hindi po beauty pageant ang ating nasalihan kundi isang halalan kung saan ang mananaig ay ang sigaw at ang boses ng ating kababayan,” Pax Ali said. (We are not in a beauty pageant but in an election where the voice of our people will prevail.)
Sharifa is the wife of Pax Ali’s uncle, former Maguindanao governor and now 2nd District Representative Esmael “Toto” Mangudadatu. The congressman is seeking his old gubernatorial post in Maguindanao, challenging the reelection bid of Suharto’s wife, Mariam.
Sharifa and at least two others filed petitions against Pax Ali, accusing him of misstating his residency when he filed his candidate’s certificate in 2021.
The Comelec en banc ruled in favor of the petitions after establishing that Pax Ali was serving as the town mayor of Datu Abdulla Singki in Maguindanao when he declared that he was a resident of Lutayan, Sultan Kudarat for one year and eight months when he filed his certificate of candidacy (COC) last October.
But Pax Ali said the case against him was part of a ploy of Sharifa’s group to win the gubernatorial seat of Sultan Kudarat without campaigning.
“She never goes out to campaign, believing she can just cancel my COC and become the governor just like that,” he said.
Pax Ali said only the SC can rule with finality on the disqualification case against him.
He said his lawyer has already filed a motion to seek a temporary restraining order against the Comelec en banc ruling. – Rappler.com
Rommel Rebollido is a Mindanao-based journalist and an awardee of the Aries Rufo Journalism Fellowship