KIDAPAWAN CITY (MindaNews/ 23 December) — Maguindanao Governor Esmael ‘Toto’ Mangudadatu has endorsed a politician and a lawyer as potential members of the Transition Commission (TransCom), which is tasked to draft the Bangsamoro Basic Law as contained in the Framework Agreement signed by the government and the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) last October 15.
President Aquino signed on December 17 Executive Order (E0) 120 creating the 15-member TransCom that would prepare the groundwork for the setting up of the new autonomous political entity called “Bangsamoro” that will replace the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM) by June 30, 2016.
The TransCom would be composed of eight members selected by the MILF and the rest by the government.
Mangudadatu endorsed for the government side Maguindanao (2nd District) Rep. Simeon Datumanong and lawyer Suharto Ambolodto, former Maguindanao election supervisor.
The governor said that Ambolodto and Datumanong, also a lawyer, “can well represent the Moro people in the TransCom.”
Mangudadatu said Presidential Peace Adviser Secretary Teresita Quintos-Deles called him up on Friday to ask for endorsements.
Without a doubt, he said, he chose the two, whom he considers as “respected lawyers.”
Datumanong, 77, was the first governor of Maguindanao elected in 1973. In 1984, he was elected to the Batasang Pambansa. In 1992, Datumanong was elected to the House of Representatives to represent Maguindanao’s Second District. In 2001, he became secretary of the Department of Public Works and Highways. Two years later, he was appointed secretary of the Department of Justice. He was re-elected to the House of Representatives in 2007 and represents Maguindanao’s second district up to the present.
For his part, Ambolodto had served in various key positions in the government and in international non-government institutions.
President Benigno Simeon Aquino III will appoint the 15 members of the TransCom, seven to be selected by the GPH and eight by the MILF, including the chair.
EO 120 provides an initial funding of P100 million for the TransCom from the contingent fund of the Office of the President. Budget for the succeeding years shall be incorporated in budget proposal under the Office of the President. (Malu Cadelina Manar/MindaNews)