COTABATO CITY (MindaNews / 09 April) – The camp of the OIC Governor of Maguindanao del Sur is opposing the appointment of the OIC Governor of Maguindanao del Norte, claiming there is no vacant post that needs to be filled.
President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. named Bangsamoro Senior Minister Abdulraof Macacua as OIC Governor of Maguindanao del Norte and swore him into office on April 5. Marcos also appointed Mangudadatu as OIC Governor of Maguindanao del Sur.
Mangudadatu appealed to Marcos to reconsider his decision in appointing Macacua over Bai Ainee Sinsuat, who won as Vice Governor of the then undivided Maguindanao in the May 2022 polls.
“ I respectfully request your good office to kindly reconsider your decision in regards to the appointment of Abdulraof Macacua as OIC of Maguindanao del Norte,” Mangudadatu said.
Sinsuat, whom Marcos appointed as OIC Vice Governor of Maguindanao del Norte, assumed the post of acting Governor on January 9 this year, bringing along 200 employees from what used to be undivided Maguindanao to Datu Odin Sinsuat town, the seat of power of the new province.
“With due respect Mr. President, I strongly object and oppose the said alleged oath-taking (of Macacua as OIC Governor) because I am the duly elected governor of the said province of Maguindanao and that I have already assumed the office and performed the function as assumed governor of Maguindanao del Sur according to the Republic Act 11550 and the vice-governor, honorable Ainee Limbona-Sinsuat assumed as governor of Maguindanao del Norte thereof since October 13 together with the other elected official of the said province pursuant section 50 of Republic Act 11550,” she said.
Mangudadatu made the announcement in a video message posted on her official Facebook page, Babai sa Kasaligan, with members of her Family Alliance Party of One Maguindanao – Bai Ainee Sinsuat who was elected Vice Governor of the undivided Maguindanao in the May 2022 elections and has been appointed by President Marcos as OIC Vice Governor of Maguindanao del Norte. Marcos also appointed Datu Sharifudin Mastura, elected as the number one provincial board member of the then undivided Maguindanao in the May 2022 polls, as OIC Vice Governor of Maguindanao del Sur.
Sinsuat, Mastura and and Nathaniel Midtimbang, board member of the undivided Maguindanao last year, took their oath as acting Governor of Maguindanao del Norte, acting Vice Governor of Maguindanao del Sur and acting Vice Governor of Maguindanao del Norte before Governor Mangudadatu on October 13.
Mangudadatu said the office of Governor and Vice Governor of Maguindanao del Norte have been filled up while the vacant seats for provincial board members (Sangguniang Panlalawigan) will be filled by appointment.
“Hence, Mr. President, no vacancy exists as to require the appointment of any person for the said position, Instead, the President may only appoint new additional member of Sangguniang Panlalawigan of Maguindanao del Norte and Maguindanao del Sur, provided it must be recommended by the governor and the congressman based on the RA 11550,” she said.
“Mahal na Presidente, Kami ang iyong Family Alliance sa Maguindanao, ang unang sumuporta sa iyo. Ang apila namin sa Pangulo na huwag magpadala sa tinatawag na sulsol na walang basehan” (Beloved President, we in the Family Alliance of Maguindanao, were the first to support you. Our appeal is do not be swayed by those who say so without basis), said Mangudadatu as she stressed the party supported the presidential bid of Marcos and his running mate, Sara Duterte.
RA 11550 split the 36-province Maguindanao into Maguindanao del Norte and Maguindanao del Sur, the law signed by then President Rodrigo Duterte on May 27, 2021.
The plebiscite to ratify the division was supposed to have been held in August 2021 but was reset after the May 2022 elections. It was held on September 17, 2022.
In October last year, Mangudadatu assumed the post of Maguindanao del Sur Governor while Sinsuat took their oath as acting governor of Maguindanao del Norte, along with their acting Vice Governors, Mastura and Mditimbang.
The Ministry of Interior and Local Government of the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao, however, did not issue a certification of recognition of the new officials as it posed a legal question, that the condition precedent that would allow the Vice Governor to assume as Governor of Maguindanao del Norte was no longer present as the plebiscite was held after the May 2022 elections.
Section 50 of RA 11550 provides thatthe officials of the newly-created provinces are to be elected in the May 2022 polls provided that “if this Act is approved and ratified within six months or more prior to the 2022 national and local elections, the vice governor and the next ranking elective member of the Sangguniang Panlalawigan of the present Province of Maguindanao, who are residents of the new Maguindanao del Norte shall assume as its acting governor and acting vice governor, respectively, and both shall continue to serve in office until their successors shall have been elected and qualified in the 2022 national and local elections.”
Maguindanao del Sur has 24 towns: Ampatuan, Buluan, Datu Abdulla Sangki, Datu Anggal Midtimbang, Datu Hoffer Ampatuan, DatuMontawal, Datu Paglas, Datu Piang, Datu Salibo, Datu Saudi Ampatuan, Datu Unsay, Gen. Salipada K. Pendatun, Guindulungan, Mamasapano, Mangudadatu, Pagalungan, Paglat, Pandag, Rajah Buayan, Sharif Aguak, Sharif Saydona Mustafa, Sultan sa Barongis, Talayan and South Upi. Its capital is Buluan.
Maguindanao del Norte has 12 towns: Barira, Buldon, Datu Blah Sinsuat, Datu Odin Sinsuat, Kabuntalan, Matanog, Northern Kabuntalan, Parang, North Upi, Sultan Kudarat, Sultan Mastura and Talitay. Its capital is Datu Odin Sinsuat. (Ferdinandh B. Cabrera / MindaNews)