2022 Philippine Elections

Murad makes voting for his local bets mandatory for MILF members

Rommel Rebollido
Murad makes voting for his local bets mandatory for MILF members

CELEBRATION. MILF chairman Al Haj Murad Ebrahim speaks during the signing of the Comprehensive Agreement on the Bangsamoro in Malacañang on March 27, 2014.

(1st UPDATE) BARMM interim Chief Minister Ahod Balawag Ebrahim warns that MILF members who will not vote for the United Bangsamoro Justice Party's bets in Maguindanao and Cotabato risk getting suspended

GENERAL SANTOS CITY, Philippines – The Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) on Thursday, March 31, made it mandatory for its members to vote for its local candidates in the May elections.

Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (BARMM) interim Chief Minister Ahod Balawag “Al Haj Murad” Ebrahim told a rally of the United Bangsamoro Justice Party (UBJP) in Darapanan, Sultan Kudarat town, Maguindanao, that MILF members who would not vote for the party’s bets in Cotabato City and Maguindanao risk getting suspended.

Ebrahim is the chairman of the MILF while the UBJP is the Front’s political party.

The proclamation rally was for UBJP candidates in Cotabato City and Maguindanao.

Maguindanao and Cotabato City have a total of 939,011 registered voters.

Ebrahim did not say exactly how the MILF could tell who its members would vote, and ensure bloc voting.

The BARMM leader immediately drew flak on social media with netizens criticizing him for the “undemocratic” policy.

Ebrahim said the MILF and UBJP have chosen candidates who can work better for the welfare and aspirations of the Bangsamoro.

A prominent candidate during the UBJP rally was Maguindanao 2nd District Representative Esmael “Toto” Mangudadatu who is running for Maguindanao governor.

With him was vice gubernatorial candidate Sandra Sema, Maguindanao 1st District Representative Roonie Sinsuat, and former Maguindanao 2nd District representative Sajid Dong Mangudadatu.

Ebrahim said the UBJP is behind Toto Mangudadatu, the principal author of the law that extended the life of the Bangsamoro Transition Authority (BTA) until 2025. 

Naguib Sinarimbo, UBJP deputy secretary general, said the participation of the MILF in the electoral process is included in the agreement that the organization has forged with the government.

Such condition in the peace agreement led to the formation of UBJP by the MILF, said Sinarimbo, also the interior and local government minister of the BARMM.

Aside from Ebrahim and Sinarimbo, others in attendance during the rally were UBJP vice president Mohagher Iqbal and UBJP secretary-general Abdulrauf Macacua. – Rappler.com

Rommel Rebolido is a Mindanao-based journalist and an awardee of the Aries Rufo Journalism Fellowship.

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