• Palace bets in ARMM win big

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    ZAMBOANGA CITY: The Commission on Elections proclaimed all President Benigno Aquino 3rd’s candidates in the Muslim autonomous region after a landslide victory in the midterm elections.

    Influential politician and a known philanthropist Sakur Tan won in Sulu as vice governor and his sons—Abdusakur “Totoh” Tan is now the governor and Samier Tan is reelected mayor of Maimbung town.

    The patriarch thanked all those who supported his team and vowed to continue his peace and development programs for Sulu, one of five provinces under the autonomous region.

    The Tans virtually ran unopposed in the province.

    “The victor here is the people and I and the rest of my team are just civil servants and we want to thank all those who supported us,” the elder Tan said.

    In Tawi-Tawi, Nurbert Sahali, the son of Governor Sadikul Sahali, also won in the polls and is now the new governor. His father was on his third and last term.

    And the same in Basilan province where the incumbent governor, Jum Akbar, won hands down against her closest rival, Rabia Salapuddin, daughter of former rebel leader-turned-congressman Abdulgani Salapuddin.

    Gov. Mamintal Adiong Jr. of Lanao del Sur also won and so is Mujiv Hataman, who was elected as governor of the Muslim autonomous region.

    Hataman, a political ally of President Aquino, was also proclaimed and he thanked all those who supported him.

    “We thank everyone who contributed to make the first-ever synchronized election in the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao successful especially the voters who granted us the mandate to lead the region for the next three years. Finally, the voice of the great majority in ARMM has been heard through a clean and credible election, which was uncertain if not entirely improbable in the past,” he said.

    “We thank you for believing in the reforms we have started and for trusting us to take ARMM forward. Now the real challenge for us all begins. We need a vigorous, decent and inclusive regional government for real change to happen. The seeds of reforms have started to take roots during our incumbency as caretakers. Help us nurture these seeds so that their vines and fruits reach even the farthest island and remotest village in the region,” Hataman added.

    He said elections always tend to be a divisive exercise, but was quick to say that it is now time to move on and appealed to all to put aside differences and to unite to bring progress and development to the autonomous region and to work together for the common good and interest of the people.

    Al Jacinto

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