Mindanao looms as the swing vote in 2010 elections

VOTE-RICH Mindanao is emerging as the new battlefront among the candidates in next year’s elections, with some opposition bets claiming that the massacre of 57 civilians there last month is boosting their candidacy while dimming the chances of the ruling party’s candidates.

Mindanao had 10.65 million voters in 2007, and those numbers appear to be more than enough to draw the attention of all the presidential candidates except deposed President Joseph Estrada, the standard-bearer of the Partido ng Masang Pilipino.

They claim visiting Mindanao almost every week to boost their chances in 2010, although it appears that only the ruling Lakas-Kampi CMD’s presidential bet, former Defense Secretary Gilberto Teodoro, dares to visit the island’s wilder areas like Maguindanao, where the 57 people, including the family and supporters of Vice Mayor Esmael Mangudadatu, were butchered.

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