Maguindanao Norte has 2 governors | Inquirer News

Maguindanao Norte has 2 governors

/ 05:04 AM April 22, 2023

Abdulraof Macacua and Bai Fatima Ainee Sinsuat. maguindanao norte governors

Abdulraof Macacua and Bai Fatima Ainee Sinsuat. —CONTRIBUTED PHOTOS

COTABATO CITY—The differences among leading personalities in Maguindanao politics have widened as two persons have now declared to be the governor of Maguindanao del Norte province.

Bai Fatima Ainee Sinsuat, who was recently appointed by President Marcos as the acting vice governor of Maguindanao del Norte, has declared that she would continue to act as governor of the newly created province.


Sinsuat, who assumed the governor’s seat in October last year after Maguindanao was divided into two, insisted on Thursday that she was the rightful chief executive of the new province and not Abdulraof Macacua, who was appointed as acting governor of Maguindanao del Norte by Mr. Marcos on April 5.


Sinsuat belongs to an influential political family in Maguindanao and is the wife of Mayor Lester Sinsuat of Datu Odin Sinsuat town, the capital of Maguindanao del Norte. Lester finished three terms as vice governor of Maguindanao before winning his mayoral seat. Bai Ainee first entered politics in 2022 through her successful bid as vice governor of the undivided Maguindanao.

Reaching out

Macacua is chief of the Bangsamoro Islamic Armed Forces, the military arm of the Moro Islamic Liberation Front, which is undergoing decommissioning in keeping with a 2014 peace deal it inked with the government. Macacua was a senior minister of the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (BARMM) before he was appointed as acting governor of Maguindanao del Norte by Mr. Marcos.

“I came up with this official statement to avoid confusion among our employees and the people of Maguindanao del Norte,” said Sinsuat in a statement on Thursday.

Macacua told reporters here on Thursday that even as he was busy preparing for his own transition government, he also took time to reach out to the other political leaders in the province.

“I reach out to them, including those oppose to my designation. After all, we are relatives,” Macacua added, referring to the Mastura, Sinsuat, Midtimbang and Mangudadatu political clans of Maguindanao.

Macacua did not say how is he related to the Sinsuats and the other clans.


“For the betterment of the Bangsamoro, we need to unite and I am working on it,” he said.

However, Bai Mariam Mangudadatu, the erstwhile governor of the undivided Maguindanao and now acting governor of Maguindanao del Sur, has also opposed Macacua’s assumption and backed Sinsuat’s bid to keep her post in Maguindanao del Norte.

Mangudadatu also objected to her own designation as officer in charge governor of Maguindanao del Sur, urging Mr. Marcos to reconsider his decision on the matter.

Mangudadatu and Sinsuat, who won as governor and vice governor, respectively, of Maguindanao in 2022, assumed as the governors of the two new provinces last October following the September 2022 plebiscite that showed the electorate favoring a split of the vast province.

Not in the law

But Republic Act 11550, which divided Maguindanao into two provinces, was silent on who should assume as governor of the new provinces after the law is ratified in a plebiscite.

The Ministry of the Interior and Local Government (MILG) of BARMM has refused to recognize Sinsuat’s assumption into office, with Bangsamoro Interior Minister Naguib Sinarimbo saying that the transition mechanism is not provided under RA 11550.

Sinsuat insisted her assumption into office was based on the provisions of the same law, adding that her actions were properly communicated to the Office of the President, the Department of Budget and Management, the Office of Chief Minister Ahod Ebrahim and the MILG.

In the case of the “alleged appointment of officers in charge of the new provinces,” according to Sinsuat, the elected officials of the undivided Maguindanao have not received official communication from the Office of the President or the Department of the Interior and Local Government.

“Because of this I will continue to perform my duties as your elected official,” Sinsuat emphasized.

Right people in right position

This developed as Macacua has prepared to submit next week some 20 names from which the President can choose to appoint as members of the legislature of the new province.

“We all have vacant positions I am filling in through the transition team. I want to put the right people for the right position,” Macacua explained.

Macacua said the list included provincial board members elected in May 2022 representing the first district of the undivided Maguindanao.

Under RA 11550, the new province should have at least eight regular provincial board members, and sectoral representatives.

“We are rushing the composition of the provincial board. Once it is done, hopefully, it can act on the needed ordinance that will allow me to transact with Landbank for our budget,” Macacua said.

“This is urgent, we cannot move without government funds,” he added.

According to Sinarimbo, only Mr. Marcos can appoint members of the provincial board.

Maguindanao del Norte has a national tax allotment from the national government of P1.8 billion for 2023.

“As soon as possible, the board must be constituted so it can pass [an] appropriation ordinance and a resolution to authorize Governor Macacua to open the provincial bank account with Landbank,” Sinarimbo said in an interview.

He said they are also considering the provincial employees from the undivided Maguindanao who opted to move to Maguindanao del Norte.

“These are workers holding ‘plantilla’ positions, they are organic workers, we are just making sure there is no violation in civil service laws when they were transferred to the new province,” he noted.

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READ: Duterte OKs bill splitting Maguindanao into two provinces

TAGS: governors, Maguindanao, Maguindanao del Norte

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