COTABATO CITY, Philippines (Mindanao Examiner / May 26, 2011) – The Commission on Elections has released the list of those who are running for this year’s elections in the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao, the government media said on Thursday.
According to the Philippine Information Agency, those who filed their candidacy for the ARMM gubernatorial post were Ashmaira Abdullah, Lanao del Sur Gov. Mamintal Adiong Jr, who is also the elder brother of the current ARMM acting regional governor Ansarrudin Adiong – now running as his regional vice governor; Saad Amate, Ephraim Delfino, Mujiv Hataman, Alvarez Isnaji, Ansaroden Lucman Moner, Pakung Mangudadatu, Kadra Masihul, Datu Habib Maulana, Elsie Orejudos, Saidamen Pangarungan and Sahiron Salem.
And the candidates for vice-governor are former Tarlac province governor and aunt of President Aquino, the socialite Margarita Cojuangco, Fatani Maik, Mikunug Ampao, Arab Ampaso, Shariffa Bago, Datu Pelaez Carudin, Bobby Datimbang, Alikhan Dimaro, Gani Gaddung, Abdulbassit Hadjinor, Omar Hassiman, Bashier Manalao, Kano Nor, Marconi Paiso and Abdusakur Tan ll.
It was unknown why the elder Adiong decided to run for ARMM governor, but even if he lost in the elections, he would still be able to continue his term as governor of Lanao del Sur.
Adiong’s younger brother Ansarrudin is less popular among many Muslims in the ARMM, but they belong to a wealthy and influential clan in Mindanao who are political allies of the Ampatuan clan - whose patriarch Andal Sr and his sons Andal Jr and Zaldy Ampatuan, the ARMM governor, - are in jail and being accused as behind the massacre of 57 people in 2009 in Maguindanao province in the country’s worst political killings.
Elections are set on August 8, but President Benigno Aquino III wanted the polls postponed and to synchronize it with the local and national elections in 2013 to prevent cheating and fraud.
The four provincial governors in ARMM - Sakur Tan of Sulu; Jum Akbar of Basilan, Sadikul Sahali of Tawi-Tawi and Esmael Mangudadatu of Maguindanao – have signed a manifesto supporting Aquino, who has certified as urgent the House Bill 414 which calls for the postponement of the polls and synchronizing it to the mid-term elections in 2013.
Aquino also wants to appoint officers that would run the autonomous government until a new set of leaders is elected. If the polls push through, voters in the ARMM will also have to choose 24 more for the Regional Legislative Assembly. Among the candidates running in the polls are relatives of the Ampatuan clan. (Mindanao Examiner)