By Ali Macabalang
COTABATO CITY – Three Moro historians have attested to the Maranao bloodline of President Rodrigo Roa Duterte through his maternal lineage, refuting in effect a theory by a book author that asserted the contrary.
Historians Ben J. Kadil, Asangan T. Madale, and Helen O. Kadil, all professors at the Mindanao State University main campus in Marawi City, have validated the President’s blood link to the Maranao tribe in their separate literatures that formed part of the salsila (genealogy) in the Bangsamoro community.
The Kadils are from Sulu region while Madale is Maranao himself. They said the President’s “great ancestor” was “Datu Samporna, a Maranao nobleman of Momungan (now Balo-i, Lanao del Norte).”
National Commission on Muslim Filipinos (NCMF) Secretary Saidamen B. Pangarungan has quoted the narratives of the three Moro historians in a two-page article he wrote recently to dispute the claim by book author Earl Parreño that President Duterte does not have a Maranao bloodline.
Parreño, in his book entitled “Beyond Will & Power: A biography of President Rodrigo Roa Duterte,” contends that the former Davao City mayor could have actually no blood link to the Maranao tribe.
He, however, did not explicitly state in his 227-page book that Duterte has no Maranao roots. He has just left it to the readers to decipher that the first President from Mindanao, the first President to claim to have Moro blood, specifically Maranao roots, has none.
Stories on Parreno’s claim came out last Nov. 3 and 4 in a Mindanao-based online news network and a major daily, and drew viral reactions on social media and partly in broadcast reports.
In his article titled “PRRD: The Maranao Pride,” Pangarungan, a former governor of Lanao del Sur, dismissed as “unfounded, if not conjectural” the allegation of Parreno.
He said that at age 21, “Datu Samporna went to Iligan and sailed towards ‘Cagaayahan’ (now Cagayan de Oro city), where he settled and raised his families in 1622.”
Sampurna “replaced Datu Salangsang, as the new ruler of Cagaayahan (and) was offered marriages to princesses – daughters of prominent families – and begot generations of famous descendants in Mindanao and Visayas, namely Neri, Roa, Fernandez, Chavez, Velez, Rivera, Bautista, San Jose, Rodriguez, Garelan, Emano, Pelaez, Fernan, Badelles, and Cabili, among others,” Pangarungan said.
He added: “When the Spaniards arrived in Cagaayahan in the 17th century, the Recollect Fr. Pedro de Santa Barbara officiated mass and many of the Samporna families became Christians. They were given the family name ‘Neri.’ But some of Samporna’s descendants moved to Boroon, Wato, Tugaya and Ganassi in Lanao and retained Islamic faith.”
According to authors Kadils and Madale, Eleno Samporna Neri Roa got married to Fortunata Gonzales and begot Soledad ‘Soleng” Samporna Neri Roa, a public school teacher and civic leader who got married to Vicente Duterte, then governor of Davao province.
The couple was blessed with five children bearing the surname Roa Duterte: Eleanor, Jocelyn, Don, Benjamin and Rodrigo, the President.
Parreno questioned the President’s Maranao ancestry by alleging that his maternal grandfather Eleno changed his surname Fernandez to Roa when he was purportedly adopted by the family.
“Assuming for the sake of argument that the name change is true, the Fernandez of Cagayan de Oro are also descendants of Samporna. Thus, whether Eleno is a Fernandez or a Roa, the Maranao blood ran in his (President’s) veins,” Pangarungan argued.
He said the Maranao salsila showed that Eleno’s mother was a Roa and Eleno chose his mother’s surname since the name Roa was prominent in trade and influence in Agusan and Misamis.
More than genealogy
“But more than the genealogy, the President has shown his love and compassion not only for the Maranaos but for the whole Bangsamoro. In the 22 years that he or his daughter Sara was mayor of Davao City, there have been deputy mayors for the Maranaos, Tausugs, Maguindanaons, and other Moro tribes,” Pangarungan said
“Under Dutertes’ reign, Davao City regularly celebrates the two Muslim holidays of Eidl Fitr and Eidl Adha, during which they gave a sack of rice and groceries to all Muslim households in the city,” Pangarunga said, adding that “such generosities are never equaled or replicated even by some 100 Muslim mayors in the country.”