President Rodrigo Duterte has belied a political analyst’s claim that he has no Maranao bloodline.
The President insisted Thursday that his grandmother was a Maranao and so was his mother Soledad, after an unauthorized biography hinted that he could not have any link to the Maranao tribe.
“My grandmother is a Maranao. My mother is a mestiza, Maranao,” Duterte said in Albay while he was meeting with local executives.
“I saw an article. Why should I pretend about my lineage? That's what you get if you begin to dig in to the history o tapos
you rely on rumor,” he added.
The book, entitled “Beyond Will & Power: A biography of President Rodrigo Roa Duterte” has reportedly suggested that Duterte could not possibly have Maranao bloodline.
Authored by Earl Parreno, the book features the President’s ancestry and rise to the presidency.
The President has often taken pride of his Maranao lineage in his public speeches since he assumed office in 2016. Duterte, former mayor of Davao City, was also named as the country’s first president from the south.
Parreno said he had interviewed “nearly a hundred people” including Duterte’s siblings and checked archives.
The author also said he has traced the President’s genealogy, childhood, high school days and life as a lawyer, prosecutor, and politician.
Lawyer Saidamen Pangarungan, a Maranao appointed by Duterte as secretary of the National Commission on Muslim Filipinos in July 2018, said that Parreno “tried in vain to cast a cloud of doubt on the President’s Maranao ancestry by alleging that the President’s maternal grandfather Eleno had his surname Fernandez changed to Roa when he was adopted by the latter family.”
“This claim can hardly be proven by competent evidence. On the contrary, the Maranao salsila (genealogy) chronicled that Eleno’s mother was a Roa and Eleno chose his mother’s surname because the name Roa was prominent in business and influence in Agusan and Misamis,” Pangarungan said.
“But more than the genealogy, the President has shown his love and compassion not only for the Maranaos but for the whole Bangsamoro,” he added.
The Maranao tribe is known as a splinter group from Maguindanao who took up Islam, with families tracing their religious origins to Sharif Kabunsuan, who introduced the religion to the region.