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Election officer sues Lanao del Sur police chief for alleged abuses

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By Ali Macabalang

COTABATO CITY – A municipal election officer has filed a complaint against the police chief of Lanao del Sur who he accused of humiliating, insulting and handcuffing him inside a policing center in Bayang town during the May 13 elections.

Colonel Madzgani Mukaram when he was provincial police director of Maguindanao last year (VIA ALI MACABALANG / MANILA BULLETIN FILE PHOTO)

Colonel Madzgani Mukaram when he was provincial police director of Maguindanao last year (VIA ALI MACABALANG / MANILA BULLETIN FILE PHOTO)

Bayang Election officer Alican M. Kapampangan filed his complaint against Col. Madzgani Mukaram before the legal department of the Commission on Election (Comelec) central office last May 20. A copy of his affidavit was obtained by Manila Bulletin last week.

Kapampangan said that about 11.a.m. on May 13 Mukaram, “accompanied by ununiformed police subordinates,” arrived at school building housing clustered polling precincts.

The police chief, who was fuming mad, asked why his men were not designated members of the Board of Election Inspectors (BEIs), Kapampangan said.

The Philippine National Police (PNP) had classified Lanao del Sur as an “area of election concern,” where uniformed cops could serve as BEI members in case the regular member-teachers inhibit.

Kapampangan said he told Mukaram all BEI teacher-members reported for duty, so there was no need to deputize police officers.

Mukaram allegedly shouted at the election officer, calling him gunggong (stupid), and ordered his men to handcuff him.

Kapampangan said his trauma, humiliation, and state of being arbitrarily handcuffed violated his rights and authority under existing laws, and prevented him from performing his election duties.

Manila Bulletin tried to get Mukaram’s reaction up until Sunday, but calls to his mobile phone went unanswered. He did not also reply to text messages sent on Saturday.

Two civilian witnesses, Shehana Lucman and Alanodin Dagalangit, submitted affidavits corroborating Kapampangan’s complaint, copies of which also reached Manila Bulletin last week.

The witnesses said they “saw Kapampangan handcuffed, being frisked, his pants half-down and his underwear (exposed)… while Mukaram was shouting at him, uttering bad words.”

“Mukaram tried to drag the EO (outside) but was prevented by people inside. I together with others (cooler heads) approached (Mukaram) and pacified him until he was persuaded (to order the handcuff removed),” said Lucman, a daughter of late retired police Colonel Macacuna Lucman.

Lucman said Mukaram and his group went outside the school building, but his ununiformed men allegedly fired their guns.

Inside the building, Mukaram’s men pointed their guns at the people around, Dagalangit said in his sworn statement.

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