Maguindanao’s UNA chapter backs Hataman’s bid for ARMM top post PDF Print E-mail
Saturday, 04 May 2013 11:39

The provincial chapter in Maguindanao of the United Nationalist Alliance is supporting the candidacy of acting Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao governor and regional Liberal Party (LP) stalwart Mujiv Hataman.

Hataman is President Benigno Aquino III’s anointed candidate for ARMM governor, along with his running mate, lawyer Haroun Al-Rashid Lucman, who was former local government secretary of the autonomous region.

Sultan Kudarat Mayor Hadji Tucao Mastura, UNA’s chairman for Maguindanao and the party’s candidate for provincial governor, announced his support to Hataman’s candidacy during their party’s sortie last weekend in Datu Paglas town.

Mastura made the announcement during their April 27 political engagement in Datu Paglas, Maguindanao, aired live by a local radio station, and covered by print and broadcast journalists, some of them based in Davao City.

Mastura said he is backing Hataman’s candidacy because he supports Malacañang’s peace effort for Mindanao through an agreement with the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF).

Hataman, a protégé of President Aquino, has been promising in LP’s campaign engagements that if he is elected ARMM governor, he would vacate his post even before the region’s 2016 electoral exercise if the replacement of the autonomous region with a Bangsamoro self-governing political entity so requires.

The government and MILF peace panels will start the transition by 2015, or a year before the end of the three-year term of an elected ARMM governor.

Mastura and his partymates aspiring for various provincial and municipal positions in Maguindanao have also been telling voters during their campaign sorties that they support the on-going peace talks between the government and the MILF.

The political rally of UNA in Datu Paglas town last April 27, attended by thousands, was graced by the party’s  senatorial candidate Ernesto Maceda.

Mastura is using as campaign pitch his avowed “spiritual awakening towards a matuwid na daan” maxim.

Mastura has also been vocal on his optimism on the successful culmination of the government-MILF talks, which he believes will pave the way for the attainment of lasting peace in the Bangsamoro communities in Southern Mindanao.

Mastura said the participation of their supporters from across the province to the event was enough show of solidarity and support for local candidates of UNA.

A report by an internet news outfit, rappler.com, by journalist Karlos Manlupig, “Mastura thinks he’ll beat Mangudadatu, said the: “the MILF reiterated that it was not endorsing Mastura for the 2013 elections even as the group’s representatives showed up in Mastura’s rally.

Manlupig’s report on rappler.com was apparently referring to the presence of MILF representatives in the Datu Paglas engagement of UNA. The rappler report was posted April 29, 2013 by Manlupig, who is based in Davao City.

Manlupig also wrote that Tomanda Antok, vice-chancellor for Academic Affairs of the Mindanao State University-Maguindanao and member of the MILF’s advocacy team, confirmed that scores of MILF members attended the Saturday (April 27) rally.

But the rappler quoted Antok as saying “I am here to represent the advocacy team of the MILF. We were requested to explain the peace agreement if possible on all occasions.”

Manlupig also wrote: Muhammad Ameen, chair of the MILF secretariat, earlier said the MILF has a “hands-off” policy on the elections. “The MILF will not anoint any candidate,” Ameen said.

The report also said the MILF is also willing to attend Mangudadatu’s political rallies to educate the people about the ongoing peace process.

“So far there has been no invitation from Mangudadatu,” Antok was quoted by the rappler report as saying.