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Palace tells Cotabato mayor claiming irregularities in BOL plebiscite to file complaint

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By Genalyn Kabiling

Malacañang has challenged a local government executive in Cotabato City to file a complaint against groups allegedly engaged in vote-buying and intimidation during the plebiscite on the Bangsamoro Organic Law (BOL).

Presidential Spokesman Salvador Panelo assured that an investigation into the matter would be conducted once Cotabato City Mayor Cynthia Guiani-Sayadi presents evidence to support her allegations doubting the credibility of the vote.

Presidential Spokesman Salvador Panelo (OPS / MANILA BULLETIN)

Presidential Spokesman Salvador Panelo
(OPS / MANILA BULLETIN)

“If she has evidence to back up her claim then file the appropriate charges against whosoever she felt has violated election laws,” Panelo said during a Palace press briefing.

Asked if the government will investigate the alleged irregularities in the BOL plebiscite, Panelo said: “Precisely you have to file your case in the appropriate administrative bodies.”

Sayadi earlier announced plans to protest the January 21 plebiscite showing Cotabato City residents voting to join the Bangsamoro autonomous region citing massive disenfranchisement.

The mayor, who opposed the city’s inclusion to the Bangsamoro autonomous region, reportedly said some witnesses claimed there were vote buying, violence, and intimidation allegedly committed by the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF).

The MILF, which is expected to dominate the Bangsamoro Transition Authority until new regional leaders are elected in 2022, has denied the allegation.

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