Aside from Maguindanao Representative Zajid Mangudadatu, two other Muslims—journalist and peace advocate Samira Ali Gutoc and Princess Ann Sahidula of Sulu—have also filed certificates of candidacy for the May 2019 Senate run.
Mangudadatu said not only have the country’s Muslims been deprived of Senate representation, but also Mindanao in general. The current Senate has only two from Mindanao—Aquilino Pimentel III of Cagayan de Oro and Juan Miguel Zubiri of Bukidnon.
“Yes I would want to do an honorable campaign, kaya (that’s why I’m) still looking for a campaign manager,” Ali-Gutoc said.
Sahidula, a former Sulu congresswoman and vice governor, is not your typical Muslim woman. Aside from being a shooter, Sahidula sings with her own children and band, the way modern TV performers do.
The Commission on Elections has a short list of serious senatorial candidates from Mindanao: SAP Christopher “Bong” Go, BuCor Director Ronald “Bato” Dela Rosa, Peace Activist Samira “Sam” Ali-Gotoc and Congressman Zajid “Dong” G. Mangudadatu (in alphabetical order). Others who have filed senate run CoCs were hardly aided by party machinery to launch a nationwide campaign, according to Comelec sources.
This number is merely half the list of 11 Mindanao candidates who have made it to the Senate in nationwide elections since 1946.
The island has had 11 senators elected at large since 1946, three of whom Muslims in the pre-martial law Congress. Two Muslims were elected senators in the post-martial law Senate. Thus, far, only two Filipino Muslim senators had been reelected.
The Philippine Senate has always been dominated by politicians from Luzon and the Visayas. The last Muslim in the Senate was Senator Santanina Tillah Rasul. She was elected for a six-year term in 1987 and was reelected in 1992 for only a three-year term, provided for candidates garnering votes tabulated in the second twelve slots.
Before Rasul, three other Muslims were elected to the Senate via election at-large in the pre-martial law Congress—Salipada Pendatun (Liberal 1946); Ahmad Domocao Alonto (Nacionalista 1955); and Mamintal Tamano (Nacionalista 1969). Tamano was reelected in the post-martial law Congress (1986), under the pro-Aquino Lakas ng Bansa coalition which won 22 of the 24 Senate seats.
Just as few as there had been Filipino Muslim senators, the country has elected only five other Mindanaons to the Philippine Senate since 1946: Tomas Cabili (1946 Lanao); Alejandro Almendras (1959, 1971 Davao); Roseller Lim (1963 Zamboanga); Aquilino Pimentel Jr. (1987; 1998, 2004 Misamis Oriental); and Teofisto Guingona Jr. (1987; 1998 Misamis Oriental).
From this list, only Domocao Alonto made it to top seven of the “Magic Eight” (the number of senators elected every two years under the 1935 Constitution), next to Claro Recto (6th Place) in the 1953 Senatorial elections --largely, because of the persuasion of the network of Maranao businesspersons nationwide.
In addition to the long-existing short list of eight have been the more recent election of Teofisto “TJ” Guingona III (2010 CdO), Aqulino “Koko” Pimentel III (2004; 2013 CdO); and Juan Migue Zubiri (2016 Bukidnon).
Against these facts of small figures, have been the single-term elections of siblings, mother and son and cousins and brothers to the post-martial law Senate, from among known political families in Luzon and the Visayas.
Before the World War II, Sultan Alawiya Alonto of Lanao; Datu Balabaran Rajah Ingkong; Datu Piang Tan; Datu Sinsuat Balabaran; Datu Abdul Bagui Butu Rasul of Sulu and Sulu Sultan Jamalul Kiram II had also served legislative terms at one time or another in the Philippine Assembly/ Commonwealth Senate, where members were either appointed or were elected by large districts.