Korina seeks LP support for Mar in Mindanao

John Unson (The Philippine Star) - August 11, 2015 - 12:26am

COTABATO CITY, Philippines - News anchor Korina Sanchez on Tuesday made a pitch for her husband’s bid for the presidency in a two-hour engagement here with an influential bloc of local officials in Maguindanao.

Sanchez said her spouse, Interior and Local Government Secretary Manuel “Mar” Roxas II, has a good vision of peace and sustainable development in Mindanao, a region she described as rich in tourism and investment potentials.

Sanchez was a guest speaker in Tuesday’s third general assembly here of the Association of Lumad, Iranun and Maguindanaon (ALIM), whose members are mayors, vice mayors and provincial board members in the first district of Maguindanao, all stalwarts of the administration’s Liberal Party.

ALIM’s chairman, incumbent Maguindanao Vice Gov. Lester Sinsuat, was one of the founders of the group, whose principal benefactor is the chief executive of the province, Gov. Esmael Mangudadatu.

ALIM members had a good show of solidarity during the 2013 elections when they helped then re-electionist Mangudadatu win a second term, defeating contender Tucao Mastura with an overwhelming vote lead.

The group also supported the candidacy in 2013 of regional governor of the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM) Mujiv Hataman, who aspired for the post under the banner of LP.

Sanchez was accompanied to the venue of Tuesday’s ALIM convention here by Hataman, a known protégé of Roxas.

Sanchez said she was elated with the hospitality extended to her by Mangudadatu and Hataman.

She told ALIM members that prospects for peace and development in the country’s south will be brighter if Roxas gets to the helm of the national government.

Sanchez also took note of what is touted as “canine loyalty” of local officials in Maguindanao and elsewhere in ARMM to the LP, whose regional figurehead is Hataman.

Mangudadatu, who is to seek a third term in next year’s local polls, is the party’s provincial chair for Maguindanao.

“Because they are loyal to the administration party, they are thus loyal to the `tuwid na daan’ movement and are therefore in good hands,” Sanchez said, referring to LP members in the autonomous region.

At least 34 of Maguindanao’s 36 mayors are members of LP.

Mayors in ARMM’s other provinces, Lanao del Sur, Basilan, Sulu and Tawi-Tawi, all belong to LP.

The siblings of Mangudadatu, Zajid, an incumbent congressman, Khadafeh, a member of ARMM’s 24-seat Regional Assembly, and Freddie, the mayor of Mangudadatu town, are also LP members.

Mayor Mangudadatu is president of the league of mayors in Maguindanao.

In a message, Sinsuat said there is no truth to stories spreading around that his political ties with Mangudadatu, his running mate during the 2013 elections, is now saddled by political and administrative misunderstandings.

“ALIM made our governor win in its political strongholds in 2013, the group will make him win again in 2016,” Sinsuat said.

Sinsuat, who hails from the vote-rich Datu Odin town in the first district of Maguindanao, said he and Mangudadatu will seek re-election in the May 2016 polls as running mates again.

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