The Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) has ordered the police in Pandag town, Maguindanao province to maintain status quo to avoid further aggravating the tense situation due to a political feud between two related families.
Philippine National Police (PNP) chief Gen. Rodolfo Azurin Jr., in a talk with reporters in Camp Crame, said DILG Secretary Benjamin Abalos Jr. has ordered the Pandag police to “maintain the status quo” in the town’s peace and order situation.
“We received guidance from our SILG (Secretary of Interior and Local Government) to maintain a status quo para hindi sila magkasakitan doon. Kasi magkakamag-anak naman ang mga ‘yan, medyo siguro mga supporters lang nila ang mainit. Nagkakaintindihan naman ang magkakamag-anak,” Azurin said.
“I think the politicians involved won’t clash, our worry is their supporters,” the PNP chief added.
Azurin clarified that the volatile situation in Pandag was not a hostage crisis.
“Ang nangyari diyan is nagkaroon lamang po ng tensiyon between cousins because we have conflicting resolution coming from Comelec (Commission on Elections) and coming from the RTC,” said Azurin, referring to the reported entry of Governor Bai Mariam-Sangki Mangudadatu at the mayor’s office of Pandag, where Vice Mayor Zihan Mangudadatu was holding office,” Azurin explained.
Zihan is the acting mayor of the town.
A video clip posted on social media Thursday afternoon showed Mangudadatu entering the mayor’s office and eventually grabbing Zihan’s cell phone.
Zihan is the wife of Mayor Khadefe Mangudadatu, who was arrested by the Criminal Investigation and Detection Group (CIDG) last September 10 for a double murder case. He is reportedly out on bail.
“So what we did is I directed the regional director, si John Guyguyon, to ensure that both parties will have [their] own security coming from the PNP,” said Azurin.
He said the regional director of the PNP has advised Zihan to hold office at the vice mayor’s office to prevent further escalation of the conflict.
The PNP will maintain the status quo until a resolution is issued, putting an end to the question between a decision of the court and a Comelec resolution.