By Ali Macabalang
COTABATO CITY – There will be six candidates for governor in Maguindanao in the May 13 mid-term elections.
But this early, two Mangudadatus are tipped to figure in a one-on-one showdown to determine the successor of Esmael “Toto” Mangudadatu.
The Commission on Elections (Comelec) named as Maguindanao gubernatorial aspirants Freddie “Ogie” Mangudadatu (PDP-Laban), Mariam Sangki-Mangudadatu (Nationalista Party), Esmael Adam (Kilusang Bagong Lipunan), Rocky Ali (ind.), Nasser Dalgan (Partido Demoktratiko Sosyalista ng Pilipinas), and Bai King Mayla Sultan Mayo (ind.).
But of these candidates, Freddie and Mariam are the early favorites to prevail being incumbent mayors of Mangudadatu and Datu Abdullah Sangk towns, respectively. These towns are named after their ancestral clans.
Freddie, popular locally as “Datu Ogie,” is chairperson of the 36-member Maguindanao mayors’ league and younger brother of the outgoing three-term governor, who will be running for congressman in the second district.
Esmael is seeking to replace his younger brother Rep. Zajib “Dong” Mangudadatu, who is running for senator under the administration ticket.
Mariam is the daughter of former Office on Muslim Affairs executive director Ali Sangki and wife of incumbent Governor Suharto “Teng” Mangudadatu of adjacent Sultan Kudarat province. Her husband is the cousin of the Mangudadatus of Maguindanao.
Former Sultan Kudarat town mayor Datu Tocao Mastura and incumbent Vice Governor Lester Sinsuat, both leaders of the two clans that forged alliance with Gov. Mangudadatu’s family, were seen gracing a campaign rally by aspirant Mariam last week to the surprise of administration party’s local stalwarts.
Former Cotabato City Mayor Muslimin Sema, who will vie for the congressional seat in Maguindanao’s first district, and his allies under the Nationalist Party (NP) announced earlier their shift of support from their own partymate Miriam to Freddie. #MatalinongBoto2019