Aquino push for Hataman to run raises transition questionsInquirer Mindanao
COTABATO CITY—In what could be a departure from what was thought to be just a transition period for Mujiv Hataman at the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM), President Benigno Aquino endorsed Hataman as administration candidate for governor in next year’s elections in ARMM.
A group endorsing other officials for governor, however, said fielding Hataman as candidate for governor would betray the real intention of appointing Hataman as acting governor of the ARMM after Mr. Aquino lobbied Congress for a law that suspended elections in the region.
A group supporting Sulu Gov. Sakur Tan said, should elections in ARMM proceed next year, it would support Tan’s candidacy for governor.
Tan, said the Sulu peace group Anak Sug Alliance for Peace and Progress (Anak Sug) in a statement, “is in good terms with all the governors of ARMM, and mayors of the different provinces are not a stranger to his sincere determination to help the President achieve justice, peace and development.”
Dr. Amildasa Annil, a leader of the group Movement for Sustainable Good Government, said pushing Hataman as candidate for governor would show that his appointment as officer in charge of ARMM was “a mere political charade.”
In its statement, Anak Sug said it will write to Mr. Aquino to try to convince the President that Tan “is the choice of the majority of people in the ARMM.”
“There will be more civil society groups that shall endorse Tan,” the Anak Sug statement said.
Esmael “Toto” Mangudadatu, governor of Maguindanao and chair of the Liberal Party in the province, said Mr. Aquino had made it clear at a recent meeting with ARMM governors in Malacañang that Hataman will be the administration candidate for ARMM governor.
“The President endorsed to us Hataman as ARMM governor,” Mangudadatu said in a phone interview.
Hataman said he was, indeed, being pushed by Mr. Aquino to run. “Pare, parang kailangan mong tumakbo (Pal, it looks like you have to run),” Hataman quoted the President as telling him. Hataman said, however, that he reminded the President of his public statement not to run for governor after his OIC role ends. Reports from Jeoffrey Maitem, Julie Alipala and Germelina Lacorte
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