MILF man nabbed for disrupting Maguindanao vote count

By Edwin Fernandez

May 15, 2018, 5:33 pm

PAGLAT, Maguindanao -- Authorities arrested on Monday evening a member of the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) while trying to enter the town hall premises here with a gun while counting and canvassing of votes were ongoing for the barangay and Sangguniang Kabataan elections.

Lt. Colonel Harold Cabunoc, Army’s 33rd Infantry Battalion commander, said Awil Kanakan, 27, a member of MILF 108th base command, entered the compound of town hall with .45 caliber pistol tucked on his waist at 7:30 p.m. Monday.

The suspect, now detained at Paglat town police office, was carrying a firearm and was accompanied by a minor when nabbed.

“Kanakan, who was brandishing a pistol, was with a 16-year-old male and could not explain why he entered the heavily-guarded town hall premises,” Cabunoc said, adding that the suspect could have been there to sabotage the ongoing vote count.

The minor has been turned over to the care of the Paglat social welfare office.

Cabunoc explained that MILF members are not allowed to carry guns in public as per guidelines from the Coordinating Committee on the Cessation of Hostilities of the government and MILF.

Abdurahim Mollilis, MILF-CCCH head, said the MILF will not tolerate its men violating the election gun ban.

Cabunoc said several members of another faction, the MILF 109th base command, were also arrested by the Army’s 1st Mechanized Infantry Battalion two weeks ago for violating the election gun ban. He noted that Kanakan and his comrades at the MILF 109th base command would all be charged for the violation.

The MILF 109th base command headed by commander Jeffrey Talusan was believed to be the group behind the firing of a M203 rifle grenade projectile toward the Damaklang Elementary School here while balloting was ongoing at 2:40 p.m. Monday. (Edwin Fernandez/PNA)