GENERAL SANTOS CITY, Philippines – The governors of Sultan Kudarat and Maguindanao on Monday, March 28, took their oath as members of the Partido Federal ng Pilipinas (PFP), a move that was seen to give the presidential bid of former senator Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr. a boost.
Sultan Kudarat Governor Suharto “Teng” Mangudadatu was also named as PFP’s chairman for Central Mindanao.
Mangudadatu’s wife Mariam, governor of Maguindanao, was sworn in as a PFP member in time for the Marcos ticket’s campaign sortie in Central Mindanao.
Before joining PFP, Mariam was a member of the Nacionalista Party (NP) while Teng was not known to be with any political party, said Assam Ulangkaya, PFP vice president for Mindanao.
Thousands attended the rally at the Sultan Kudarat capitol grounds in Isulan town late afternoon. Early in the day, Marcos led rallies in Carmen, North Cotabato and Buluan town in Maguindanao. He was joined in those rallies by his running mate, Davao mayor Sara Duterte, who skipped the ticket’s sorties in South Cotabato on Sunday.
The Sultan Kudarat governor is serving his last term while his wife is seeking reelection, and is being challenged by her husband’s cousin, Maguindanao 2nd District Representative Esmael “Toto” Mangudadatu. Toto, a former governor, is a supporter of presidential bet Manila Mayor Isko Moreno.
Teng said he was not running for any public office. He said he will devote his time helping in the Uniteam campaign.
Ulangkaya said the Mangudadatu couple’s joining PFP gave the Marcos-Duterte tandem a boost in Mindanao.
From Isulan town, the capital of Sultan Kudarat, the Marcos-Duterte Uniteam went to Buluan town, the capital of Maguindanao, for another rally.
Rommel Rebollido is a Mindanao-based journalist and an awardee of the Aries Rufo Journalism Fellowship