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ARMM provincial governors support Hataman’s re-election bid

 • 01:52 AM Sat Oct 17, 2015
John Unson
Abulkhayr Alonto of the Moro National Liberation Front (right) shakes hand with Gov. Mujiv Hataman of the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao. (John Unson)

COTABATO CITY -- Maguindanao Gov. Esmael Mangudadatu on Thursday refuted insinuations he and other provincial governors in the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao will not support the re-election bid of presidential protégé ARMM Gov. Mujiv Hataman.Mangudadatu, provincial chairman of Liberal Party (LP) for Maguindanao told reporters he will not violate party rules by supporting a different candidate for ARMM regional governor instead of Hataman. We adhere to our party’s `equity of the incumbent’ principle. So it is obligatory on my part and for other party members to support Hataman,” Mangudadatu said after filing his certificate of candidacy for a third term at the office of the Commission on Elections here Thursday.Mangudadatu explained his position on the issue when asked to comment on assertions by sources in Zamboanga City that provincial governors in ARMM have formed an alliance in support of the candidacy for regional governor of Sulu Vice Gov. Sakur Tan.Mangudadatu also belied stories purporting that he and the four other provincial governors in the autonomous region had openly endorsed the candidacy of Tan.Tan wields political over an island province teeming with religious extremists engaged in kidnapping activities, feared for their practice of beheading captives if ransom demands are not met.Tan reportedly filed his COC for ARMM governor at the Comelec office in Zamboanga City without any written imprimatur from LP, the party where he and Hataman both belong.The son of Tan, Sakur, Jr., who is incumbent governor of Sulu, also belong to the same party, along with Governors Jum Akbar of Basilan, Nurbert Sahali of Tawi-Tawi and Mamintal Adiong, Jr. of Lanao del Sur.A leader of one of now four groups in the Moro National Liberation Front, Abulkhayr Alonto, on Thursday met Hataman in Cotabato City to personally relay their appreciation of the ARMM governor’s overt support to President Benigno Aquino III’s current peace overtures with the MNLF and the Moro Islamic Liberation Front.Two factions in the MNLF, the one led by Alonto, who is an ethnic Maranaw, and the other under former Cotabato City Mayor Muslimin Sema, a Maguindanaon, supports the government-MILF peace efforts, convinced it will benefit their groups as well.A foreign–trained guerilla commander who saw action in the early 1970s, Alonto, scion of a big Maranaw noble clan in Lanao del Sur, committed to cooperate with Hataman’s domestic peace and security initiatives.Alonto’s group had previously endorsed the draft Bangsamoro Basic Law (BBL), the enabling measure for the replacement of ARMM with an MILF-led Bangsamoro political entity based on the government’s peace compact with the MILF.He also lauded Hataman’s readiness to step down and facilitate a transition from the ARMM government to a new Bangsamoro entity as soon as the BBL gets through the mills of the two chambers of Congress.

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