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Dirty Politics Behind Yusoph Kidnapping

Dirty Politics Behind Yusoph Kidnapping

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Published by Inday Espina-Varona

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Published by: Inday Espina-Varona on Jul 22, 2010
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10/25/2012

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Dirty politics behind Yusoph kidnappingBy Froilan GallardoCAGAYAN DE ORO CITY— It was all about the huge amount of bribemoney that corrupted election officials who issued orders to clusterpolling precincts to favored politicians during the last elections inMay, military officers and poll watchdog groups said. The officers and NGO leaders said that this was the reason whyNuraldin Yusoph, the 22-year-old son of poll Commissioner Elias Yusoph, was kidnapped in Marawi City.“Politicians who lost a lot of money want to recoup their losses. Thatis the reason why Nuraldin was kidnapped,” said Brig. Gen. RayArdo, chief of the Army’s 103rd Infantry Brigade. “They want to berefunded,” he added.At the center of the controversy that hounded the kidnapping of Nuraldin is his father Elias, the only Muslim commissioner in theCommission on Elections. The Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF), in its luwaran.com website,said that “the kidnapping was a collective effort” of all losers in theelection “to force him [Commissioner Yusoph] to refund the bribesgiven him during the elections” as it accused the election official of “[taking] money from all sides.” There was no immediate comment from the elder Yusoph and hisfamily about the accusation.Sources provided Mindanews with a copy of a Comelec order datedon May 9, 2010 ordering the clustering of polling precincts from 19to 55 in Marawi City. The order was signed by Comelec Chair Jose Melo who annotatedthat “his signature was made upon recommendation of Commissioner Yusoph.”Commissioner Rene Sarmiento signed with “reservation” whileCommissioner Nicodemo Ferrer did not sign at all. Commissioners Yusoph, Armando Velasco, Gregorio Larazabal, and Lucenito Taglealso signed.Ardo said the order benefited Marawi City Mayor Sultan Fre Fahadwho went on to win the mayoralty election over former Mayor AbbasBasman.Did you notice that Commissioner Yusoph did not come to Marawiduring the entire 29 days when Nuraldin was in the kidnappers’custody? He was scared that all the losing politicians will gang up on
 
him and demand a refund,” Ardo said.Ardo himself is no stranger to election cheating. In 2004, he wasamong the military officers who were accused of rigging theelections for President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo.Last February 2009, Yusoph, a provincial prosecutor in Marawi City,was appointed by former President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo to theComelec to replace Commissioner Romeo Brawner who died.“Remember I did not give you a clear answer when you asked meabout Yusoph after he was appointed. It is because I do not trusthim at all,” said Hadji Abdullah Dalidig, head of the IslamicMovement for Electoral Reforms and Good Governance (IMERGG).He confirmed that bribes were paid to pay election officials in thelast May 10 elections.Dalidig, who chaired the National Citizens Movement for FreeElections (NAMFREL) in Lanao del Sur, was the 2004 whistleblowerwho uncovered the dagdag-bawas electoral cheating that allegedlybenefited former President Arroyo. The young Yusoph was moved from one hideout to another beforehe was released in Cagayan de Oro City late Monday afternoon,more than a hundred kilometers from where he was abducted inMarawi City on June 20. This was the surprise ending of the 29-day hostage ordeal of theyoung Yusoph who was snatched in in front of the Bato Ali Mosquein Marawi City.Wearing a dark blue jacket and white tshirt, Nuraldin appeared to bedazed and at times covered his face from the glare of photographers’ flashes and TV camera lights.“I was constantly threatened and blindfolded. I was always movedaround from one place to another,” the young Yusoph told reportersbefore he was whisked to Manila this morning. He said he wasthreatened to be killed at least nine times while in captivity. The 22-year-old Yusoph said he could not recall the places where hisabductors had taken him during the 29-day captivity.“I only remembered the threats. I could not see anything,” he said. The young Yusoph said his kidnappers at first fed him only once aday. But his food intake was increased as the days went by.Lanao del Sur Gov. Mamintal Adiong said the kidnappers releasedNuraldin at Junction Ilaya, Macanhan and Masterson road inBarangay Carmen, this city around 5:10 pm. Monday.

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