Some see polls as ‘proxy war’ between Binay, defeated rival
COTABATO CITY—Elections in the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM) are turning out to be a proxy war between Vice President Jejomar Binay and his defeated rival, Manuel Araneta Roxas II.
Political parties led by Binay and Roxas are fielding candidates for governor of the ARMM in elections that are scheduled in August, but which Malacañang wants postponed.
The Liberal Party, headed by Roxas, is fielding acting Gov. Ansarruddin Adiong as its official candidate. The Partido ng Demokratikong Pilipino-Laban, led by Binay, is fielding Pax Mangudadatu as its official candidate for governor and Margarita “Tingting” Cojuangco, President Aquino’s aunt, for vice governor.
Jose Cojuangco Jr., Mr. Aquino’s uncle and Tingting’s husband, said Binay has pledged to support the Mangudadatu-Cojuangco ticket.
Ali Macabalang, information chief of the ARMM, said the fight would be a prelude to the 2016 presidential elections that are seen to pit Binay against Roxas.
Roxas became controversial among Muslims after he led opposition to the proposed memorandum of agreement on ancestral domain that would have been the key document to a peace agreement with the Moro Islamic Liberation Front under the Arroyo administration, but which the Supreme Court declared unconstitutional.
Muslim leaders campaigned for the rejection of Roxas by Muslim voters in the 2010 elections.
Adiong’s camp, according to a source in ARMM, is seeking Palace endorsement.
Adiong, elected as ARMM vice governor in 2008, assumed as acting governor after Gov. Zaldy Ampatuan was implicated in the Maguindanao massacre.
Lawyer Ray Sumalipao, regional director of the Commission on Elections, said at least seven candidates are vying for ARMM governor and three for vice governor.
“But I believe some of them could be nuisance candidates and could be declared as such,” said Sumalipao.