BESTING FIVE other candidates, Bai Mariam Sangki-Mangudadatu has won as the first woman governor of Maguindanao with 256,338 votes. Her closest rival was Freddie Mangudadatu, who received 201,565 votes. Freddie is the first cousin of Bai Mariam’s husband, Suharto Mangudadatu, who also won as the governor of Sultan Kudarat province in the neighboring SOCCSKSARGEN Region. Ms. Sangki-Mangudadatu said that she will focus on providing medical services, livelihood, and scholarship programs. Meanwhile, former Maguindanao governor, Esmael “Toto” Mangudadatu, brother of Freddie, won as congressional representative for the province’s 2nd District. Esmael told the media that despite his brother’s defeat, he is still ready to help the governor-elect “in serving Maguindanao.” He said, “I am willing to support whatever the plans of the new administration because we share the same endeavor of serving the province of Maguindanao.” The congressman-elect also said that he will ask President Rodrigo R. Duterte for a temporary halt on military operations in Maguindanao. “I am hoping that the war stops. Allow the BARMM (Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao) government to talk to the lawless elements.” He added that he is willing to take part in the negotiations. “Civilian lives are always at risk, it will only make a cycle of violence,” he said.
In Basilan, former ARMM regional governor Mujiv S. Hataman won as congressman for the island province’s lone district. His wife, former ANAK Mindanao representative Djalia Hataman won as mayor of Isabela City, which is geographically part of Basilan but is under the administrative jurisdiction of Zamboanga Peninsula Region. The couple ran against candidates of the Akbar political clan of Basilan.
In Sulu, members of the Tan family running under the ruling PDP-Laban party won several seats. Among them are former governor Abdusakur M. Tan, who is returning to his old post while his son, incumbent Governor Abdusakur A. Tan II, was elected vice-governor. — Tajallih S. Basman