The personal aide of a defeated mayoral candidate in Montawal town in Maguindanao has vehemently denied involvement in the torching of several houses in the area which took place few days after the elections on May 10.
Abdul Karim, who claimed to be the personal secretary of Datu Arkhan Matalam, son of a powerful Matalam clan in Maguindanao who lost in the mayoral race in Datu Montawal town, said they had no private army that they could hire to carry out the burning down of houses in villages where they lost considerably during the last elections.
When Matalam lost to incumbent Mayor Datu Ohto Montawal, he readily accepted the ‘peoples’ decision’ and told his supporters not to be upset about their ‘defeat’, Karim said.
“Datu Arkhan told us that the elections were like games. Sometimes you lose, sometimes you win,” said Karim.
Besides, he added, Montawal is a relative of Matalam.
Karim, citing reports they gathered from their informants in the area, said the armed men that first set on fire the houses on May 16 were led by the village chair himself, Kakem Urao.