By Sheila Crisostomo | The Philippine Star
MANILA, Philippines - The filing of certificates of candidacy (COCs) for the Aug. 8 elections in the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM) ended last Thursday with 14 individuals seeking to become governor of the troubled region.
A total of 16 individuals, on the other hand, filed their COCs to run for vice governor, according to a list provided by the Commission on Elections (Comelec).
Vying for ARMM governor are Ashmaira Mayasa Abdullah (Aksyon Demokratiko); incumbent Lanao del Sur Gov. Mamintal Alonto Adiong Jr.; Saad Ibrahim Amate; Pangalian Macaorao Balindong; Ephraim Baldomero Defino; former Anak Mindanaw party-list congressman Mujiv Sabbihi Hataman; former acting ARMM governor Alvarez Silal Isnaji; Ansaroden Magangcong Sani Banuas Luman Moner; former Sultan Kudarat governor and congressman Pax Pakung Sandigan Mangudadatu (Partidong Demokratikong Pilipino-Laban); Kadra Asani Masihul (Kilusang Bagong Lipunan);
Datu Habib Sarifuddin Samanodi Maulana; Elsie New Orejudos; former Lanao del Sur acting governor Saidamen Balt Pangarungan; and retired Bataan police director Sahiron Dulah Salim.
Eyeing the ARMM vice gubernatorial seat are Fatani Sultan Abdul Malik; acting ARMM Gov. Ansaruddin Abdul Malik Alonto Adiong; Mikunug Pangcatan Ampao (OMPIA); Arab Dimasimpun Ampao; Shariffa Ziola Anding Bago; Datu Pelaez Alo Carudin; former Tarlac governor Margarita “Tingting” de los Reyes Cojuangco; Bobby Manangaran Datimbang; Alikhan Awar Dimaro; Gani Usman Gaddung; Abdulbasit Ampaso Hadjinor; Omar Tani Hassiman (Kilusang Bagong Lipunan); former Lanao del Sur governor Basher Dimalaang Manalao; Kano Pasandalan Nor (Aksyon Demokratiko); Marconi CursoTomelden Paiso Al Haj; and Abdusakur II Abubakar Tan.
Comelec spokesman James Jimenez, however, said there is no official list of candidates in the ARMM polls yet.
“There will be a period for (the filing of petitions for) disqualification. We will know if (they) can become candidates. They are just the ones who filed their COCs,” Jimenez said.
Malacañang yesterday said it “respects” the decision of Cojuangco, President Aquino’s aunt, to run for ARMM vice governor but maintained that the administration would not be preparing its own candidates yet because it would still push for the postponement of the polls.
“It’s a free country. So anybody is free to put themselves up for an electoral post as they see fit. So, of course, Mrs. Cojuangco is free to run as she pleases,” deputy presidential spokesperson Abigail Valte said over radio station dzRB.
Cojuangco will be the running mate of Mangudadatu under PDP-Laban.
Meanwhile, Sen. Ferdinand Marcos Jr. yesterday warned of possible uprising in the ARMM if the elections there are postponed and officers-in-charge (OICs) are appointed.
Marcos, who chairs the Senate committee on local government, said their series of hearings in the region showed how passionate the local leaders are about the issue on autonomy.
Marcos said postponing the ARMM polls is tantamount to destroying the region’s autonomy. “If we recognize that autonomy is a central point in all the peace talks, why are we destroying it? If you are canceling the election and appointing people as officers-in-charge, where is the autonomy,” he said during the weekly news forum at the Annabel’s restaurant in Quezon City.
Marcos, however, reiterated his assurance that his committee, which is deliberating a bill seeking to postpone the ARMM elections, would work overtime to come out with the committee report so that plenary debates on the Palace-backed measure could begin.
He said his committee would hold its last hearing on the bill on Tuesday to inquire as to who would be appointed OICs and what specific reforms the government would implement if the ARMM polls would be reset to 2013.