TACURONG CITY, Sultan Kudarat (MindaNews / 08 May) – Former beauty queen Sharifa Akeel Mangudadatu who is running for governor of Sultan Kudarat province, declared support to the presidential bid of Vice President Leni Robredo shortly before the campaign period officially ended Saturday night.
Sharifa, wife of Maguindanao 2nd district Representative Esmael “Toto” Mangudadatu, initially campaigned for Manila Mayor Isko Moreno, her party mate in Aksyon Demokratiko.
“Sa Gobyernong Tapat, Angat Buhay Lahat! — This will be the core of what I intend to do in the province of Sultan Kudarat,” the 2018 Ms Asia Pacific, posted on her Facebook account.
“It is better late than never but I am wholeheartedly in support for the presidential bid of Vice President Leni Robredo. She has earned a spot in my heart since then, her brand of leadership is what I envision for my province too. A type of governance that is anchored on my mantra that public service should be ‘Maasahan, Makakapitan, Mapagkakatiwalaan,’ she added.
Sharifa’s husband, Rep. Toto Mangudaatu, is challenging reelectionist Maguindanao Governor Bai Mariam Sangki-Mangudadatu for Governor, a post he held from 2010 to 2019.
Sharifa is running against Datu Pax Ali Mangudadatu (Lakas-CMD), son of Governor Sangki-Mangudadatu and Sultan Kudarat Gov. Suharto “Teng” Mangudadatu.
Teng and Toto are cousins.
Toto Mangudadatu is the gubernatorial bet of the United Bangsamoro Justice Party (UBJP), the political party of the Moro Islamic Liberation Front. The UBJP endorsed Robredo during her 57th birthday on April 23.
Teng and Bai Mariam, on the other hand, are backing the presidential bid of former Senator Ferdinand Marcos, Jr.
Sharifa said she hopes her last-minute support for Robredo would be heeded by her supporters.
Robredo is the “epitome of a decent and sincere government leader,” the beauty queen said.
“Under a Robredo leadership, I can see more opportunities for Sultan Kudarat because her priority is to improve the provinces and villages,” she said.
She did not explain why she abandoned Moreno at the last minute. Her post generated various reactions. Some called her ‘balimbing’ or political turncoat.
a point netizens did not allow to pass, some calling her “balimbing” or political
Still one-on-one fight
Sharifa on Monday scored a victory over Datu Pax Ali Mangudadatu after the Commission on Elections (Comelec) en banc upheld the ruling of the commission’s First Division voiding the latter’s certificate of candidacy (COC).
She earlier filed a petition questioning the residency status of her rival, who is mayor of Datu Abdullah Sangki town in Maguindanao.
Datu Pax Ali, however, sought a temporary restraining order (TRO) from the Supreme Court in response to the Comelec en banc’s decision.
In his final campaign message on Saturday night, Mangudadatu said the High Tribunal granted his petition for a TRO on his cancelled COC.
“This means that I am still a candidate for governor of Sultan Kudarat province. Your votes on me will be counted and not become stray,” he said in a video statement.
On Saturday morning, the camp of Datu Pax Ali furnished local media a copy of the Supreme Court order, dated May 6, which required the Comelec to comment on his petition within a non-extendible period of 10 days from notice. (Bong S. Sarmiento / MindaNews)