Rappler : Sulu’s Tan is 4th BARMM governor to support Marcos in homestretch

23 April 2022

By LIAN BUAN | Rappler

MANILA, Philippines – Sulu Governor Abdusakur Tan declared his support for presidential candidate Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr. Friday, April 22, making him the fourth of the five governors of provinces under the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (BARMM) to back the son of the late dictator.

Speaking from the ballroom of the Manila Hotel in an event closed to media, but livestreamed by the Uniteam’s Facebook page, Tan said he was initially waiting for President Rodrigo Duterte’s endorsement before making his own, but the president supposedly gave them the freedom to choose. Tan himself is running unopposed for reelection under the president’s party, PDP-Laban, which has already endorsed Marcos and Sara Duterte.

“Tinatanong ako ng media magiging majority president ba si Bongbong. Overwhelming, majority president yan (Media asks me if Bongbong Marcos will be a majority president. Overwhelmingly, he will be a majority president),” said Tan, adding that some politicians were urging him to support Vice President Leni Robredo, “pero sabi ko hindi puwede, Bongbong ako at Sara Duterte (but I said I cannot, as I am for Bongbong and Sara Duterte).”

Tawi-Tawi Governor Yshmael Sali, Maguindanao Governor Mariam Mangudadatu, and Lanao del Sur Governor Mamintal “Bombit” Alonto Adiong Jr. earlier pledged their support for Marcos. Other Muslim governors have also declared support for Marcos like Mariam’s husband, Sultan Kudarat Governor Suharto “Teng” Mangudadatu, and more mayors either from within BARMM or outside.

The support from BARMM – which consists of Basilan, Sulu, Tawi-Tawi, Maguindanao, and Lanao del Sur – is useful for Marcos to cover the historical wounds his father inflicted on the Moros. The infamous Jabidah massacre during the dictatorship, where dozens of Muslim trainee soldiers were killed, is cited as the spark of the Moro revolution that prompted Philippine presidents to hold peace talks with Moro rebels, which culminated in the birth of the autonomous region.

“I cannot think of a more important group of leaders from the BARMM provinces than who we have today…Nagpapasalamat ako sa inyo sa napakalaking bagay na ginawa nating gabing ito na masabi ang BARMM leadership ay nasa likod na ng tambalang Marcos at Duterte,” said Marcos.

(I thank all of you because it’s a big thing what we did tonight, to be able to say that the BARMM leadership is behind the tandem of Marcos and Duterte.)

The only BARMM governor to support Robredo for this election is Basilan Governor Hadjiman Hataman-Salliman, the brother of Basilan Representative Mujiv Hataman, a key Robredo supporter and staunch martial law critic.

Tan and Hataman are bitter rivals. Hataman beat Tan for governor of the then-ARMM in 2016, which resulted in an electoral protest that Marcos consistently used as basis for alleging electoral fraud in his own vice presidential race with Robredo, a case junked 15-0 by the Supreme Court last February.

In his speech on Friday, Tan alluded to his rivalry with Hataman to say that when he was alone, Marcos stayed by his side.

Who will BARMM go for?

The other sought-after endorsement is that of the BARMM parliament itself, headed by Chief Minister Ahod “Al Haj Murad” Ebrahim of the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF). They have yet to endorse any presidential candidate, though the chief minister has met with Robredo and Manila Mayor Isko Moreno

Tan said a member of BARMM parliament called him to ask if he and Ebrahim can speak.

“Puwede, kapag kayo ang sumama sa amin, hindi kami ang sasama sa inyo. Kayo ang sumama sa amin!” said Tan.

(He can, if you join us, we will not join you. You join us.)

In 2016, Robredo won Basilan, Lanao del Sur, Maguindanao, and Tawi-Tawi. While BARMM only has 2.58 million voters for the entire region, it was so crucial in 2016 that Marcos picked it as his point of contention in alleging fraud in his now failed electoral protest.

Among the issues were the controversial zero votes in some ARMM precincts.

A close examination of the 2016 data by Rappler shows that while there were more ARMM precints that recorded zero votes for Marcos in ARMM (he had 95 while Robredo had only 53), it was Marcos who got more votes out of all “zero vote” precincts in the entire country.

Marcos got 49,460 votes from precincts that recorded zero votes for Robredo, while the vice president got 27,964 votes from precicnts that recorded zero votes for the dictator’s son.

Of the BARMM provinces, Marcos has only visited Marawi in Lanao del Sur.

– Rappler.com