• Muslim clans in Mindanao ready for 2016 elections

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    Members of prominent Muslim clans in the provinces of Maguindanao, Lanao del Sur and Lanao del Norte have filed their certificates of candidacy (COCs) at various Commission on Election (Comelec) offices in Mindanao.

    In Maguindanao, the Ampatuans are going to clash with the Mangudadatus again. Former Talayan town Mayor Ali Midtimbang, father-in-law of detained and former Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM) Gov. Zaldy Ampatuan, is going against Maguindanao Gov. Esmael Mangudadatu.

    Zaldy and other suspects in the 2009 Maguindanao massacre are still detained and facing litigation over the crime except for Sajid Islam Ampatuan, Zaldy’s youngest brother, who posted P12-million bail in March.

    The massacre has been known as the most brutal election-related violence in the country wherein 58 people were killed including 34 journalists. The group were on their way to Comelec office in Sharif Aguak to accompany the wife of Governor Mangudadatu in filing Mangudadatu’s COC. They were kidnapped then killed and buried in shallow graves.

    Sajid, meanwhile, has filed COC to run as mayor in their hometown Shariff Aguak under the United Nationalist Alliance (UNA) of Vice President Jejomar Binay alongside Midtimbang and Mastura.

    He was reported running against members of their clan Mayor Maroph Ampatuan and former mayor Zahara Ampatuan.

    Governor Mangudadatu, who succeeded the prime suspect in the massacre, the late Andal Sr., in 2010, filed his COC on Thursday seeking his last term under the Liberal Party (LP) of President Benigno Aquino 3rd.

    Vice Gov. Lester Sinsuat, chairman of Alliance of Lumad, Iranun and Maguindanaon, whose members belong to 25 to 36 town mayors of Maguindanao, has pledged to support Mangudadatu to continue their reform programs in the province.

    Moro National Liberation Front (MNLF) central committee chairman and former Cotabato City Mayor Muslimin Sema will run again for mayor under LP with his running mate Ems Pasigan, cousin of Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) chairman Murad Ebrahim as vice mayor.

    Sema and Pasigan will be opposing UNA stalwart, incumbent Cotabato City Mayor Japal Guiani Jr. and his daughter lawyer Cynthia Guiani Sayadi who filed her COC as vice mayor in tandem with her father.

    In Lanao del Sur, the clan of Alonto-Adiong was challenged by Marawi City Mayor Fahad “Pre” Salic who recently allied with various groups and families in the province.

    Thousands of people on Thursday walked with Salic and his allies towards the Comelec office to file his COC for governor.

    Among Salic’s allies are members of the Sautol Haqq or the Voice of the Truth and former supporters of Gov. Mamintal “Bombit” Adiong, Jr.

    Marantao town mayor Mohammadali Abinal, running mate of Salic, is going against Gov. Bombit, who will run for vice governor.

    Salic is opposing Soraya, daughter of late Domocao Alonto, a former senator and will run in tandem with her son Bombit under LP.

    Salic’s brother, former Marawi city mayor Omar “Solitario” Ali, is seeking reelection against 1st district Assemblyman Majul Gandamra.

    In Lanao del Norte, Dimaporo family members will go against one another in the gubernatorial race.

    Pantao Ragat town Mayor Neshreen “Eleanor” Dimaporo-Lantud has filed her COC after she bolted LP and pledged allegiance to UNA.

    Eleanor is the daughter of the late Caromatan Mayor Sultan Naga Dimaporo, brother of the late congressman Mohammad Ali Dimaporo.

    She will be running against 1st District Representative Imelda “Angging” Quibranza-Dimaporo, wife of her cousin Abdullah Dimaporo.

    Imelda is seeking to swap with her son incumbent Lanao del Sur Gov. Mohamad Khalid Dimaporo under LP.

    No reported violence occurred in three provinces during COC filing period.

    MOH SAADUDDIN

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