COTABATO CITY, Philippines—Acting Governor Mujiv Hataman of the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao on Saturday denied reports he will step down on March 30 to pave the way for the appointment of a new acting governor.
“It seems there are people who are disseminating wrong information to create chaos in the ARMM,” Hataman said in reaction to a media statement by former Moro Islamic Liberation Front spokesperson Eid Kabalu who is now a consultant to the Armed Forces of the Philippines.
Kabalu said he could see the appointment of Datu Saripada Amir Hussein as acting ARMM governor. He did not say, however, where he got the information and in what capacity he was making it public.
Hussein is a relative of Sultan Amalul Kiram III.
“I was with President Aquino the other day and he mentioned nothing about me being replaced by anybody,” Hataman said, adding, “he would have personally told me about it, if any, but there was none.”
Hataman is running for governor of the ARMM, a post he has been holding in an acting capacity since President Benigno Aquino appointed him in December 2011 to institute reforms in the graft-ridden autonomous regional government.
ARMM is composed of the provinces of Maguindanao, Lanao del Sur, Basilan, Sulu and Tawi-Tawi.
Hataman said as alter ego of the President in the ARMM bureaucracy he should be the first to know from the President himself if he was to be replaced.
“I still enjoy the trust and confidence of President Aquino,” Hataman said. “All these are speculations to discredit the ARMM leadership.”
As acting ARMM governor, Hataman said he has managed to eradicate “ghost teachers, ghost projects, ghost employees, ghost schools, ghost remittances to GSIS and PhilHealth.”