COTABATO CITY (MindaNews/16 October) – Incumbent Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao Governor Mujiv Hataman on Thursday filed his certificate of candidacy for the same position under the ruling Liberal Party.
But Hataman did not appear at the Commission on Elections regional office in Cotabato City. Instead, an honor student from Mamasapano town in Maguindanao filed on his behalf the COC.
Nurumbai Utto, 17, the class valedictorian this year in the town’s high school filed the COC accompanied by Hataman’s lawyers.
Utto, who is now an ARMM scholar, said he was proud to represent the governor who he said has inspired him.
Hataman will face Sulu Vice Gov. Sakur Tan. Sources close to Tan said his executive assistant identified as JoJo Tan has filed in his behalf the vice governor’s COC.
Hataman has not replied to queries why he did not personally file the COC, but his information chief, Amir Mawalil in a statement said, Utto’s representation means the governor’s agenda is to give more importance to the youth.
Elections for the ARMM will push through as Congress has failed to pass the Bangsamoro Basic Law. The Bangsamoro will replace the ARMM after it is approved by Congress and ratified in a plebiscite.
Also on Thursday, the convoy of Maguindanao Gov. Esmael Mangudadatu and other LP candidates arrived at the Comelec Maguindanao provincial office in TV Juliano Street together with several supporters to file their COCs.
Datu Ali Midtimbang, former mayor of Talayan town, will challenge Mangudadatu.
Midtimbang, who will run under the United Nationalist Alliance of Vice President Jejomar Binay, was expected to file his COC Friday.
Midtimbang is the father-in-law of former ARMM governor Zaldy Ampatuan, one of the suspects in the Ampatuan Massacre who is currently detained in Taguig.
Former Cotabato City mayor Muslimin Sema has filed his COC. He is running against incumbent Mayor Japal Guiani Jr.
Sema’s wife, incumbent Cotabato and 1st District of Maguindanao Rep. Bai Sandra Sema has also submitted her COC. The couple filed their COCs together with other LP candidates in the city.
Rep. Sema will run against former Sultan Kudarat, Maguindanao Mayor Tucao Mastura.
Meanwhile in North Cotabato, incumbent Gov. Emmylou Mendoza has filed her COC for the same post. Mendoza and Vice Gov. Gregorio Ipong were expected to run unopposed. (Ferdinandh B. Cabrera/MindaNews)