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‘Time to reconcile, heal fractured clan’

COTABATO CITY — Outgoing Maguindanao Gov. Esmael “Toto” Mangudadatu, elected as representative of Maguindanao’s second district, vowed to push for reconciliation of the Mangudadatu clans in Maguindanao and Sultan Kudarat.

“This is just politics, there should be no hatred, there should be no division,” Mangudadatu said after his proclamation here on Thursday.

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“The discourses and issues raised during the campaign period should not be the reason for us not to unite,” he said. “We should move forward for the betterment of Maguindanao.”

“Both happy and sad” was Mangudadatu’s first reaction after he was proclaimed winner in the congressional race.

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“Happy becaue I won and sad because my brother lost,” he said, referring to Mangudadatu town Mayor Freddie Mangudadatu who lost to their cousin’s wife, Bai Mariam Sangki-Mangudadatu, in the gubernatorial race.

Toto said he would support the programs of the new leadership of Maguindanao and assured there would be a smooth turnover of the helm of the province to Bai Mariam.

Bai Mariam is the wife of Sultan Kudarat Govenor-elect Suharto Mangudadatu. Suharto will succeed his father, Gov. Pax Mangudadatu.

Suharto and Toto are first cousins but locked in a family dispute involving their feuding fathers.

Esmael and Freddie are sons of the late Datu Pua Mangudadatu, former mayor of Buluan, Maguindanao.

Brothers Pax and Pua were known mortal enemies in the 1980s, with their bloody rivalry claiming the lives of a number of family members and supporters.

‘Still a family’

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“We all still belong to one family—Mangudadatu, there’s no reason for us to fight, elections come and go but our good relationship should stay,” Mangudadatu said.

He went emotional as he narrated how difficult life had been for poor Maguindanaons who were repeatedly displaced by armed hostilities, especially the children.

On Thursday, the board of canvassers also proclaimed Bai Mariam as governor-elect and Lester Sinsuat as vice governor-elect.

Datu Ronnie Sinsuat, former speaker of the Regional Legislative Assembly of the defunct Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao was proclaimed representative of Maguindanao’s first district.

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TAGS: Clan, Esmael, heal, Maguindanao, Mangudadatu, Toto
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