COTABATO CITY – Ex-officials of the defunct Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM) have joined the fray over the two Congressional seats in Lanao del Sur, one of which is currently occupied by another former ARMM chief executive.
Incumbent 1st District Rep. Ansaruddin “Hooky” Alonto-Adiong is seeking a third elective term under the Nationalista Party against defunct ARMM Assemblyman Rolan Abdul Rashid “Fiat” Macarambon (PDP-Laban) and neophyte Ansaroden Lucman-Moner (Pederalism ng Dugong Dakilang Samahan).
Adiong, son of incumbent Lanao Sur Gov. Soraya Alonto-Adiong and younger brother of Vice Gov. Mamintal Jr., had once served as assemblyman, vice governor and acting governor of ARMM.
In the second congressional district, PDP-Laban’s incumbent Rep. Mauyag Papandayan Jr. is rivaled in his bid for second elective term by ARMM Assemblymen Froxy Macarambon (Nationalista Party), Yasser Balindong (Lakas CMD), and Abol Alam Padate (Partido Federal ng Pilipinas), and ARMM Vice Gov. Haroun Al-Rashid Lucman Jr. (Liberal Party).
The contending ARMM officials waived rights for continued service until June 30, 2019 in the infant Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (BARMM) to join the battles for Congressional seats in Lanao del Sur, the second vote-richest province in the autonomous region.
Political observers, meanwhile, also closely watch the gubernatorial race proceedings in Lanao del Sur pitting eight prominent contenders.
Mamintal Adiong Jr., elected vice governor in 2016 after completing three gubernatorial terms, is bidding for another mandate in the governorship in the coming midterm elections under the Lakas Christian-Muslim Democrats party against seven rivals including President Duterte-anointed Guiling “Gene” Mamondiong.
Mamondiong, a lawyer, resigned as director general of the Technical Education and Skills Development Authority to seek the top elective post in Lanao del Sur, where he once served as provincial board member in late 1970s.
Two independent candidates join the gubernatorial fray – Agakhan “Binladen” Sharief, a popular civic-religious leader; and Hatta D. Dimaporo, son of the late former Lanao Governor and Congressman Ali Diamporo.
Also running for governor are neophytes Sultan Bob Datimbang (Labor Party of the Philippines), Ganie Abubakar People’s Consultative Party), Hamza Molia (Democratic Party of the Philippines), and Ahmadjan Abdulcarim (Ind.).
Topping the gubernatorial candidates’ platforms of government is common concern yet contrasting stands for the rehabilitation and reconstruction of Lanao del Sur, particularly Marawi City, from the havocs of the 2017 siege of the city by Daesh-inspired militants and its consequent five-month fierce fighting.
Marawi City Mayor Majul Gandamra is seeking reelection under the Pwersa ng Masang Pilipino party against eight rivals led by former city Mayor Omar “Solitario” Ali of the People’s Consultative party.
The seven other mayoral aspirants are Mayan Saidamen-Masman (Labor Party of the Philippines), a lawyer daughter of National Commission Muslim Filipinos Sec. Saidame Pangarungan; Khomeini Taha (Lakas-CMD), and Johairah Conding, Casanain Labay, Pundug Laguindab, Datu Meno Manabilang, and Ismael Naga Jr., all independent bets. (Ali G. Macabalang)