Marcos names acting governors for Maguindanao
MANILA, Philippines — President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. on Tuesday designated officers in charge (OIC) of the newly created provinces of Maguindanao del Norte and Maguindanao del Sur, ending months of wrangling by local politicians on who should lead the new local government entities.
Erstwhile Maguindanao Gov. Bai Mariam Mangudadatu was appointed OIC governor of Maguindanao del Sur while Abdulraof Macacua will lead Maguindanao del Norte.
“As OIC, Macacua is tasked by the president to maintain peace and stability in the region, a prerequisite for the development of the area and its people,” the Presidential Communications Office said in a news release.“
With the appointment of an OIC in Maguindanao del Norte, the Marcos administration expressed assurance that the province has an able and competent leader while still under the chief executive’s administration and guidance,” it added.
Apart from Macacua and Mangudadatu, the president also appointed erstwhile Maguindanao Vice Gov. Bai Ainee Sinsuat as OIC vice governor of Maguindanao del Norte and Datu Nathaniel Midtimbang for Maguindanao del Sur.
Midtimbang topped the race for provincial board members in the second district of the then-undivided Maguindanao in 2022.
Macacua, who is a senior minister and concurrent environment minister in the interim Bangsamoro government prior to the appointment, took his oath before Marcos in Malacañang on Wednesday.
Mangudadatu, Sinsuat and Midtimbang have yet to take their oaths.
Quo warranto case
On Wednesday, a source from the camp of Sinsuat said they were surprised by the appointments. Asked for comment about the president’s decision on the matter, Sinsuat’s camp said they were considering the filing of a quo warranto petition before the Supreme Court.
Sinsuat and Mangudadatu assumed as acting governors of Maguindanao del Norte and Maguindanao del Sur, respectively, in October last year, several weeks after the Commission on Elections declared the results of a September plebiscite showing voters favoring the split of Maguindanao into two new provinces.
However, the Ministry of the Interior and Local Government of the Bangsamoro region refused to recognize the assumption into office of Sinsuat. Interior Minister Naguib Sinarimbo had said that Republic Act No. 11550, which provides for a split of Maguindanao, did not provide for such a mechanism of transition. Hence, only the president can designate someone to the post. Even then, the two new provinces proceeded with the transition that by January 2023, both have their respective national tax allotments from the national government.
Macacua can immediately assume office, Sinarimbo told the Inquirer on Wednesday.
“[Macacua] may assume immediately and upon his assumption, he may request a certificate of recognition from our Ministry and if warranted, the same will be granted,” he said.
The corporate existence of Maguindanao del Norte and Maguindanao del Sur, he said, is reckoned from the date of the president’s appointment of the two province’s officials, based on the Local Government Code of 1991.
Macacua is the former military chief of the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) which signed a peace deal with the government in 2014. He currently serves as secretary general of the United Bangsamoro Justice Party, the MILF’s political arm.