COTABATO CITY—Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao Gov. Mujiv Hataman has declared his decision to seek reelection “in the interest of the BBL (Bangsamoro Basic Law),” which is still pending passage in Congress.
Hataman, a native of Basilan—the ARMM’s smallest island component province —mentioned his pet slogan to sacrifice personal welfare by stepping down in case the BBL is passed by Congress during his second incumbency.
The BBL, a legal translation of two peace deals forged by the government and Moro Islamic Liberation Front, prescribes the establishment of a ministerial Bangsamoro political entity in replacement of ARMM. But the BBL bills pending in the House and the Senate have been regarded by the MILF and some reigning regional officials as prescriptive of powers “weaker” than those of present ARMM system.
Hataman was quoted as saying Sunday that if the bill is passed by December and ratified by February, then he would “sacrifice and give way to the transition.”
Congress, which is on break from Oct. 10 until Nov. 2, has set Dec. 16 as the new target date for the passage of the BBL. But Senator Ferdinand Marcos Jr., who principally drafted the Senate version of the BBL, had said that the proposed law would draw better deliberation if tossed to the next Congress to handle.
Supporters said Hataman will file his certificate of candidacy for reelection anytime between Oct. 12 and 16, the time frame set by the Commission on Elections for local, regional and national candidates to file COCs for the May 9, 2016 synchronized elections.
In his declaration, Hataman did not mention any possible running mate for vice governor among his colleagues in the Liberal Party. The current ARMM vice governor is Haroun Al-Rashid Alonto-Lucman of Lanao del Sur, the ARMM’s second largest vote-rich province with about 400,000 registered electors.
Earlier, Gov. Esmael “Toto” Mangudadatu of Maguindanao, which so far has about 500,000 registered voters—the largest in ARMM, confirmed having asked President Benigno Aquino III and the LP leadership of his family’s intention to field candidate for ARMM governor or vice governor in the coming polls. But he added that their option would depend upon the decision of the President or the party hierarchy.
LP sources said incumbent Sulu Vice Governor Sakur Tan Sr., a former three-term governor and congressman, was also interested to vie for ARMM governor with possible teammate from Maguindnanao or Lanao del Sur.
“Graduating” Lanao del Sur (2nd District) Rep. Pangalian Balindong, an LP original, was also mentioned as possible candidate for ARMM governor eyeing a teammate also from Maguindanao.