Cotabato City Mayor Frances Cynthia Guiani-Sayadi has vowed to file charges of harassment, cheating and other election-related violence against certain individuals during the holding of the plebiscite for the ratification of the Bangsamoro Organic Law (BOL) on January 21.
In a statement, Guiani-Sayadi said her lawyers are now preparing the necessary documents and other pieces of evidence for the complaints that they would file before the Commission on Elections (Comelec).
She cited that there were polling places in the city where their watchers reported harassment and they were not even allowed inside the classrooms even though they already presented their identification cards and appointments.
There were also reports that the watchers of the “No” vote in Cotabato City Central Pilot Elementary School were beaten up by the supporters of the BOL, she said.
In other schools, there were also reports that some voters were not able to cast their votes because their names were missing from the list, she added.
The local chief executive also questioned the presence of the thousands of BOL supporters, who according to the Comelec and the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF, were only in the city to observe the plebiscite.
“Why do they have to allow outsiders to flock inside polling places and harass voters if they were confident that they will win? If they were really sincere in their cause, they should not have done that because it only instilled more fear in our constituents which made the results of the plebiscite more questionable,” Guiani-Sayadi said.
The plebiscite for the ratification of the BOL was part of the peace agreement between the government and the MILF.
The mayor was very vocal in campaigning against Cotabato City’s non-inclusion in the proposed Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (BARMM).
But the “Yes” vote in the city won in the plebiscite.