COTABATO CITY (MindaNews / 26 September) The United Bangsamoro Justice Party of the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) endorsed on Sunday their choice for governor and vice governor of Maguindanao: Toto Mangudadatu and Bai Sandra Sema.
Esmael “Toto” Mangudadatu served as governor of Maguindanao from 2010 to 2019 and was elected 2nd district Representative in 2019. Sema served as 1st district Representative from 2010 to 2019 and ran for Mayor of Cotabato City but lost in the 2019 elections.
The endorsements were announced by Chief Minister Ahod Balawag “Murad” Ebrahim at the Astana inside the Bangsamoro compound.
The UBJB is expected to clash with the candidates of Family Alliance led by incumbent governor Bai Mariam Sangki-Mangudadatu whose running mate, as announced on Saturday, will be Bai Ainee Limbona-Sinsuat, wife of incumbent Vice Governor Lester Sinsuat who will run for mayor of Datu Odin Sinsuat.
The vice governor will be pitted against the UBJP-endorsed Datu Jam Sinsuat, Lester’s uncle.
The UBJP chair also endorsed 1st District Representative Datu Roonie Sinsuat for reelection but has yet to endorse a candidate for the 2nd district.
The Family Alliance is fielding Sittie Shahara Dimple Ibrahim-Mastura for 1st district representative and Paglas Mayor Ibrahim “Tong” Paglas for the 2nd District.
Datu Bimbo Sinsuat, incumbent provincial board member and brother of Datu Roonie and Datu Jam, was also present at the Astana, as were the brothers of Toto Mangudadatu – Bangsamoro Member of Parliament Khaddafy and former Buluan Mayor Ibrahim.
Member of Parliament Midpantao Midtimbang was also present.
Murad said they endorsed these candidates because of their support to the Bangsamoro cause and they journeyed with them in pushing for the passage of the Bangsamoro law, ratification and extension of the Bangsamoro transition period.
Representatives Mangudadatu and Sinsuat played key roles in ensuring the passage of the bill extending the transition period until 2025.
Sema also played a key role in ensuring the passage of the Bangramoro organic law. Bai Sandra is wife to Muslimin Sema who chairs a faction of the Moro National Liberation Front. (Ferdinandh B. Cabrera / MindaNews)