ZAMBOANGA CITY, Philippines—Former Anak Mindanao Representative Mujiv Hataman has been chosen to head the five-province Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao in a caretaker capacity, Interior Secretary Jesse Robredo said Saturday.
Robredo said Bainon Karon, a prominent Moro woman leader, will serve as Hataman’s deputy based on appointment papers signed by President Benigno Aquino about three days ago.
Hataman was “officially appointed officer-in-charge governor of the ARMM and Karon as vice governor,” he said by text message to the Inquirer.
Robredo said Hataman and Karon would be taking their oaths of office either Thursday or Friday in formal turnover ceremonies at the ARMM complex in Cotabato City.
“There was no law violated with the appointments of the caretaker officials,” he said.
But Parouk Majirul, an aide to Basilan Governor Jum Akbar, said the appointment of caretaker officials – particularly of Hataman – was improper.
He said the legality of the law that reset the ARMM elections from August 16 to May next year was still being questioned and the Supreme Court has not decided on it yet.
But Robredo said Malacañang knew that some people would not be happy about Hataman heading the five-province region.
“It was expected but Hataman underwent and passed through many processes before he was appointed. He applied, screened, presented to the public, interviewed (during the screening process),” Robredo said.
He said Hataman, an ally of Aquino, was picked from among the applicants for interim officials “because he can balance.”
“He is accepted both by politicians and non-government organizations,” Robredo added.
He said Hataman’s first priority when he assumes office would be the peace and security issue in the provinces of Maguindanao, Lanao del Sur, Sulu, Tawi-Tawi and Basilan.
Hataman said among his priorities was to bring warring politicians and families to negotiations.
As far as he was concerned, he said, he was trying to reach out to the Akbars, his main political rivals.
The Akbars had charged that Hataman was behind the 2007 Batasan explosion that killed – among others – then Basilan Representative Wahab Akbar.
Hataman told the Inquirer by phone that he would be assisted by a technical team, whose composition could be finalized this month, in running the affairs of the ARMM.
“We will maximize our time this December for transition, planning and workshop, focusing on good governance, peace and security and socio economic development and we will put more emphasis on reform programs for the ARMM,” he said.
Hataman, 39, is a member of the Yakan indigenous community in Basilan. He is the younger brother of Basilan Representative Jim Salliman Hataman.
He is former volunteer of the Moro Human Rights Center. Before entering politics, Hataman was Wahab Akbar’s chief of staff when he was Basilan governor.
Hataman eventually created Anak Mindanao, a partylist group he represented in Congress from 2001.
Anak Mindanao did not win a seat in the 2010 general elections as it failed to obtain the required number of votes.