‘Alim’ politicians brace for Maguindanao polls

Cotabato City—Maguindanao officials brace for kinship and political alliance to defeat their opponents in the May 2019 midterm polls.

This developed as the Commission on Elections has set the filing of certificates of candidacy on Oct. 11 to 17 for national and local candidates.

Local officials gathered in a low-key meeting on Sunday in Datu Odin Sinsuat, the center of power of the old Sinsuat clan to sustain political alliance at local level.

Officials said Maguindanao Vice-Governor Lester Sinsuat and his father Mayor Datu Ombra Sinsuat of Datu Odin Sinsuat, hosted the meeting for member-local executives of the Alliance of Lumad Iranun Maguindanaon mayors.

The Alim mayors were also joined by Maguindanao Governor Esmael Mangudadatu and his brothers Maguindanao Assemblyman Khadafeh Mangudadatu of the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao, and Ibrahim Mangudadatu, former mayor of Buluan.

Sources privy to the meeting said an initial consensus among them held that a prevailing local alliance would be sustained for a political status quo.

“This would mean that Vice-Governor Sinsuat would be seeking for the same position in May 2019, but since Governor Mangudadatu is no longer eligible to seek another term, the alliance will endorse from consensus an experienced and rightful successor for the [Maguindanao] governorship in a more appropriate forum,” according to a source who did not want to be named for lack of political authority to speak to the press.

Vice Governor Sinsuat and Governor Mangudadatu have been rumored to be at odds of late, over a perceived conflict akin to political preparations for the next local election.

But distinctly, Muslim local leaders always go back to traces of blood relations and family ties to address causes of conflict at early stage.

Indeed, centuries old narratives in a “Book of Nobles” called Tarsilan reveal secrets of ties-that-bind among Moro leaders, as decoded by Syrian-American historian, Dr. Najeeb Salleby in 1905.

Most of the province’s elected officials are related by blood. For instance the Sinsuats and the Mangudadatus are bound by kinship ties: The governor’s grandmother Bai Ginandingan was the sister of Commonwealth Senator Sinsuat Balabaran, great grandfather of the vice governor.

Most Alim-member mayors, including Marshall Sinsuat of Datu Blah Sinsuat town; Muhammad Ali Guro of Matanog; Freddie Mangudadatu of Mangudadatu town; Dr. Ibrahim Ibay of Parang; Abdulradzak D. Tomawis of Barira; Ramon Piang of Upi, attended the meeting. Pandag Mayor Bai Zihan Mamalinta-Mangudadatu was represented by her executive assistant and political aide Melvyn Aradanas Avancena.

The local executives were also joined by Atty. Abubakar Katambak, a former member of the provincial Board; Board Members Adnan Biruar and Buluan Vice-Mayor Prince Mosafeer M. Dilangalen.

Topics: Maguindanao , May 2019 midterm polls , Commission on Elections , Lester Sinsuat
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