LP stalwarts to vacate posts if Bangsamoro transition requires PDF Print E-mail
Friday, 19 April 2013 11:11

Liberal Party stalwarts Mujiv Hataman and Esmael Mangudadatu both assured Wednesday to voluntarily vacate their posts, if elected chief executives of the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao and Maguindanao, respectively, if the transition process for setting up a Bangsamoro entity will so necessitate.

Hataman said his position is in line with President Benigno Aquino III’s vision of crafting, along with the Moro Islamic Liberation Front, a final government-MILF peace pact soon as basis for the creation of a Bangsamoro autonomous political entity before the 2016 synchronized local, senatorial and presidential elections.

Hataman  and Mangudadatu also both denied assertions by rival political quarters that they are to campaign against the ratification of the  Basic Bangsamoro Law (BBL), which is to be legislated by Congress and, subsequently, presented to voters in the proposed areas of the Bangsamoro region for a referendum to enable the creation of an entity to replace ARMM.

Hataman, speaking before thousands who attended an LP political engagement in Datu Odin Sinsuat, Maguindanao Wednesday, said President Aquino, doubtlessly is eager to sign a final peace deal with the MILF and establish a Bangsamoro region before his presidency ends in 2016.

Hataman said he is ready to step down by 2015 if the MILF and the GPH panels are to start by then the transition from ARMM to a Bangsamoro region, which is to have awesome political and administrative powers. The term of an ARMM governor elected next month is to end June 30, 2016.

Mangudadatu, for his part, said there is no truth to rumors being spread by his rivals he would campaign for a “no vote” against the BBL if presented for ratification through a plebiscite.

“I can even swear by the Qur’an that I shall step down and bear no grudge against any group, anybody, if there is a need to sacrifice my post in favor of a peaceful transition process that would benefit the Bangsamoro people,” Mangudadatu said during their sortie in Datu Odin Sinsuat.

The LP rally, hosted by the Sinsuat clan, which pitted a scion, Datu Lester Sinsuat, as administration candidate for Maguindanao vice governor, was covered live by Catholic station dxMS and dxMY of the Radio Mindanao Network, both based in Cotabato City.

President Aquino, while in Buluan town on April 13 to address thousands who gathered at the Buluan municipal gymnasium for the LP’s first ever major political engagement in the province, insinuated he is certain his peace overtures with the MILF will continue to gain headway if his party mates running for elective positions in the ARMM and its component provinces are elected.

He cited in particular how Hataman and Mangudadatu have been implementing projects complementing the Mindanao peace process, particularly the socio-economic components of the GPH-MILF peace efforts that are meant to address poverty and underdevelopment in far-flung areas.

President Aquino said Mangudadatu, aside from his provincial peace and development projects, also did not resort to retaliations for the serious affront to his clan’s pride and honor caused by the Nov. 23, 2009 “Maguindanao Massacre,” that left 58 people dead.

Among the victims of the massacre was Mangudadatu’s wife, Genalyn, his sister, and several other relatives. More than 30 of the victims were journalists.

The President insinuated he is confident Malacañang’s peace overtures with local Moro communities will continue to gain headway with Mangudadatu at the helm of the provincial leadership.

Maguindanao is a known bastion of the MILF. The group’s largest and main enclave, Camp Darapanan, is located in Sultan Kudarat town in the first district of the province.