By Ali G. Macabalang
COTABATO CITY – Sulu Governor Sakur Tan and his three children will need just one vote each to get reelected, so with 2nd District Rep. Munir Arbison. Reason: All five officials are running unopposed in their respective posts.
The unrivaled stance of the Tans and Arbison is attributed to the incumbents’ success in forging of alliance, covering even other known influential political clans in Sulu, it was learned.
The governor and his kids – Vice Governor Sakur Tan II, 1st District Rep. Samier Tan, and Mayor Shihla Tan-Hayudini of Maimbung, are seeking reelection unopposed, the office of the provincial election supervisor of the Commission of Elections (COMELEC) in Sulu said.
The four Tans filed candidacies under the Partido Demokratiko Pilipino-Lakas ng Bayan (PDP-Laban) while Arbison runs under the Lakas-CMD party, according to a report attributed to Sulu election chief Vidzfar Julie.
Another daughter of the governor, Kusug Tausug partylist Rep. Shernee Tan-Tambut runs anew as first nominee of her group, Sulu-based journalist Al Jacinto told the Philippine Muslim Today news Friday.
The elder Tan and his namesake son have alternated as governor and vice governor for many years. The former had completed three terms as Congressman, after which he continued to win either as governor or vice governor.
Then “graduating” Rep. Tan faced fierce gubernatorial rivalry against erstwhile sitting Governor Tupay Loong in 1998, with both camps trading rocket-propelled grenades in the campaign period. Tan won and later forged a political alliance with Loong, leading to the election of the latter as Congressman in 2001.
Tan’s political reign was interrupted only when he ran for regional governor in the now defunct Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao, and lost to sitting Governor Mujiv Hataman in 2016.
Gov. Tan alongside Cotabato City Mayor Cynthia Guiani-Sayadi had openly opposed the creation of the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao, and pursued dissenting stance in the proposed extension of the BARMM transition period from 2022 to 2025.
He has toned down his opposition after the ministries of the BARMM governance poured in massive projects in Sulu, according to media workers privy to Tan’s political maneuvers.
This prompted the BARMM and Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) leadership, via its United Bangsamoro Justice Party (UBJP), not to field candidates in Sulu, it was learned.
The UBJP put up full slates of candidates against reelection-seeking Maguindanao Gov. Mariam Sangi-Mangudadatu and Mayor Guiani-Sayadi, whom the BARMM leadership blamed for engaging in “overt and “discrete” efforts against the proposal for the postponement of the 2022 parliament polls and extension of the Bansamoro Transition Authority (BTA) lifespan to 2025, respectively.
The UBJP slate in Maguindanao is led by 2nd District Rep. Esmael “Toto” Mangudadatu, who earned the BARMM full support for spearheading the passage of a bill for the BTA life span extension. He held the gubernatorial post for nine years or three-terms (2010-2019).
The regional political party’s full slate in this city is led by resigned City Councilor Mohammad-Ali “Bruce” Matabalao, a part-time broadcaster. (AGM)