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Beauty queen gunning for S. Kudarat gov gets ‘best Eid gift’ with cancellation of rival’s COC

KORONADAL CITY (MindaNews / 3 May) – Beauty queen Sharifa Akeel-Mangudadatu, who is seeking the gubernatorial post in Sultan Kudarat province, received “the best gift” for Eid’l Fitr in the form of the cancelation of the certificate of candidacy (COC) of her rival, Datu Pax Ali Mangudadatu, whose camp responded that it’s too early for her to celebrate.

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Sharifa Akeel-Mangudadatu campaigning. Photo from the Facebook page of Sharifa

In a Facebook post on Monday night, Akeel-Mangudadatu (Aksyon Demokratiko) shared the eight-page decision of the Commission on Elections (Comelec) en banc upholding the earlier ruling of the first division that canceled the COC of Pax Ali Mangudadatu (Lakas-CMD).
“The best gift na natanggap ko (that I received) this Eid! Alhamdulillah,” she wrote.

Akeel-Mangudadatu is the wife of Maguindanao Second District Rep. Esmael “Toto” Mangudadatu, who is gunning for the gubernatorial post in neighboring Maguindanao province against reelectionist Gov. Bai Mariam Sangki-Mangudadatu.
Datu Pax Ali Mangudadatu is the son of Sangki-Mangudadatu and Sultan Kudarat Governor Suharto “Teng” Mangudadatu.
Teng and Toto are cousins.

Akeel-Mangudadatu said that her rival allegedly tried to deceive the Comelec and the voters in the province that he is a qualified candidate.
She added that it is “useless” to vote for Datu Pax Ali since votes for him will be counted as stray.
In January, the First Division headed by now retired Commissioner Maria Rowena Guanzon favored the petition filed by Akeel-Mangudadatu involving the residency of her opponent.
Datu Pax Ali Mangudadatu appealed the division’s ruling.
In its promulgation on Monday, May 2, the Comelec en banc said it denied his motion for reconsideration dated 20 January 2022 and affirms the resolution of the Commission’s First Division promulgated on 18 January 2022.
Lawyer Cyrus Torreña, Datu Pax Ali Mangudadatu’s counsel, said they were saddened by the decision of the Comelec en banc.
“But the fight is still on,” the lawyer said in a radio interview, adding they will seek a temporary restraining order from the court.
Torreña said the order of the Comelec en banc is not final and that they can still appeal it before the Supreme Court.
He urged supporters of Datu Pax Ali Mangudadatu to still vote for him in the May 9 polls, reiterating that the High Tribunal will have the final say.
In a phone interview Monday evening, Toto Mangudadatu, former three-term Maguindanao governor, hailed the Comelec en banc for upholding the decision of the poll body’s first division canceling the COC of Datu Pax Ali Mangudadatu, mayor of Datu Abdullah Sangki in Maguindanao.
“Datu Pax Ali’s one year residency status in Sultan Kudarat province as a requisite for a candidate was not met. He fell short by eight days,” Toto said over the phone in Filipino.
Toto said their lawyers received an electronic copy of the Comelec en banc’s decision Monday afternoon.
Unless Datu Pax Ali could get a temporary restraining order from the Supreme Court, Toto said his wife “would be unopposed in the May 9 polls.”
Only Sharifa and Datu Pax Ali filed for the gubernatorial post in Sultan Kudarat province. (Bong S. Sarmiento / MindaNews)

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