Maguindanao clans choose common candidates for 2019 polls
Gov. Esmael Mangudadatu and the new leaders of the Ampatuan clan, Marop (middle) and Kagui Akmad (left) at the gathering in Cotabato City on Monday
John Unson

Maguindanao clans choose common candidates for 2019 polls

John Unson (Philstar.com) - October 9, 2018 - 2:30pm

MAGUINDANAO, Philippines — Rival datus on Monday endorsed common candidates for provincial posts as the filing of certficates of candidacy for the 2019 polls start this week.

Present on Monday were the new political leaders of the Ampatuan clan, the political family implicated in the November 23, 2009 massacre that was the worst case of election-related violence in the Philippines.

Representatives of Maguindanao's ruling Mangudadatu, Mastura, Midtimbang and Sinsuat clans also graced the solidarity “kanduli,” a traditional thanksgiving affair that highlighted their unity as part of their preparations for the forthcoming elections.

The kanduli was held at the Shariff Kabunsuan Cultural Complex inside the regional capitol compound of the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao in Cotabato City.

The activity, witnessed by more than a thousand barangay officials and leaders of different sectors from Maguindanao, was organized by political allies Gov. Esmael Mangudadatu and Vice Gov. Lester Sinsuat.

The Mangudadatu and Sinsuat clans last month reaffirmed their alliance through a compact signed last month.

Gov. Mangudadatu to seek House seat; brother to run for governor

Participants to Monday’s kanduli, among them mayors from across Maguindanao, said they supported a plan for Gov. Mangudadatu to run for congressman of the province's second district.

Ronnie Sinsuat, speaker of the 24-seat ARMM Assembly, will meanwhile run to represent Maguindanao's first legislative district.

Mangudadatu, elected governor in 2010, disclosed during the kanduli that the newly-aligned political clans shall anoint his younger sibling, Freddie, as common candidate for governor.

Maguindanao covers 36 towns, whose leaders are mostly scions of the Moro nobility.

Freddie, mayor of Mangudadatu town, is president of the league of mayors in the province.

Sinsuat, now in his second term as vice governor of Maguindanao, will be Freddie's running mate, according to Mangudadatu.

“This was agreed upon during dialogues prior to this kanduli,” Mangudadatu told reporters at the sideline of the gathering.

In separate messages, Mayor Shameem Mastura of Sultan Kudarat and Midpantao Midtimbang—the most senior datu of Guindulungan—and his children, who are incumbent municipal officials there, also said they would help ensure harmony in the province.

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