2022 Philippine Elections

Lanao del Sur gov vows ‘landslide win’ for Marcos Jr and Sara Duterte

Bea Cupin

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Lanao del Sur gov vows ‘landslide win’ for Marcos Jr and Sara Duterte

Ferdinand Marcos Jr clinches the support of the Lanao del Sur provincial government during a March 31, 2022 rally in Marawi City. Bea Cupin/Rappler

Bea Cupin/Rappler

Lanao del Sur is where Marcos Jr lost big to Vice President Leni Robredo. It's also home to many who were slain during the Marcos regime.

MARAWI CITY, Philippines – In 2016, Ferdinand Marcos Jr lost badly to Vice President Leni Robredo in Lanao de Sur, getting a paltry 56,243 votes to Robredo’s 180,539 votes. 

But six years later, the story will be different, at least according to the Governor Mamintal “Bombit” Alonto Adiong Jr. 

At a grand rally at the provincial capital on Thursday, March 31, Adiong Jr said Marcos Jr and his running mate, Davao Mayor Sara Duterte would win big in the province. “Sa darating na halalan siguradong landslide ibibigay ng Lanao del Sur,” Adiong, a reelectionist, said during a campaign rally for the Uniteam slate at the provincial capitol. 

(In the coming elections, Lanao del Sur is sure to give a landslide win [for Marcos Jr and Duterte])

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Uniteam is the alliance among four parties with Marcos Jr and Duterte as their standard bearers. The two are also election front runners, based on preference surveys. 

In Lanao del Sur, the Uniteam has found an ally in Team Adiong, a slate led by the incumbent governor. During the March 31 rally, Adiong said 38 local government units and Marawi City, were represented – by either the re-electionist incumbent or a candidate under their slate. 

Ibig sabihin yan lahat tutulong, tutulong kay [Marcos Jr] at kay Inday Sara… ang provincial government solid para kay BBM and [Sara Duterte],” said Adiong in an interview with reporters following the rally. 

(That means those LGU officials will help [Marcos Jr] and Inday Sara. The provincial government is solidly behind Marcos Jr and Sara Duterte.) 

Adiong and most of his allies in the province are members of Lakas-CMD, which Sara Duterte now co-chairs. The party is part of the Uniteam alliance, alongside Marcos Jr’s Partido Federal ng Pilipinas, Pwersa ng Masang Pilipino, and Hugpong ng Pagbabago, a Davao-based regional party. Because they’re members of Lakas-CMD, they toe the party line. 

Besides, said Adiong, they wanted continuity – even if it was through a possible future Vice President. “Kailangan namin ipagpatuloy yung mga nagawa ni President Duterte dito. Knowing na si VP Mayor Inday Sara, sigurado tayo na ipagpapatuloy niya kung ano nasimulan ng kanyang ama,” he explained. 

(We need to continue what President Rodrigo Duterte started. Knowing we’d have Inday Sara as vice president, we’d be sure that she’d continue what her father started. 

President Duterte has not endorsed a presidential candidate, nor does he seem keen on doing so. Marcos Jr., however, is the pick for president of PDP-Laban, the party the President chairs. 

Lanao del Sur is home to 685,643 registered voters in 2022. 

Lanao del Sur gov vows ‘landslide win’ for Marcos Jr and Sara Duterte
Memories of Martial Law 

That incumbent provincial candidates chose a survey front runner makes sense, at least going by the usual workings of Philippine politics.

But Lanao del Sur counts many of its sons and daughters, including a former representative, as among those who stood up against the dictatorship of Marcos Jr’s father and namesake, the deposed dictator Ferdinand Marcos. 

The province’s former representative, the late Rashid Lucman, called for the elder Marcos’ impeachment in 1968 following the infamous Jabidah massacre. During the Marcos regime, Muslim men from Sulu and Tawi-Tawi were recruited for a mission to reclaim Sabah. They were later killed in Corregidor island after they protested the harsh conditions of their training. Military men were court-martialed but eventually cleared. The Marcos government then claimed the Jabidah masscare did not happen – a lie that’s still being repeated today.

The massacre prompted Lucman to call for the older Marcos’s impeachment. Later, it convinced him that Muslims in Muslim Mindanao should self-rule. This eventually led to the creation of the Bangsa Moro Liberation Organization, which later merged with the Moro National Liberation Front. The MNLF is the precursor to the Moro Islamic Liberation Front, a group which now heads the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao. 

Under the Marcos regime, Muslim-majority areas in Mindanao turned into “veritable killing fields.” 

Asked about the atrocities committed under the late dictator’s regime and whether their endorsement of his son was in conflict with their history, Adiong said: “Para sa akin ang tinitignan ko yung ngayon, ’di ko na tinitignan yung nakaraan. Kasi kung tignan natin ang nakaraan, baka ’di na natin mahandle yung sitwasyon.”

(I don’t look at the past. Because if we do that, we might not be able to handle what’s in front of us.) 

He made the same assertion when asked about Marawi City residents’ dissent to Marcos Jr himself in the past – over his version of what was then the Bangsamoro Basic Law in 2015. It was a version critics called a “watered down” version of the original. 

Gusto natin tignan yung kung ano yung merong kinabukasan para sa mga kababayan ko at sa Lanao del Sur. Ayoko tignan muna yung nakaraan natin, kasi nandiyan na, ’di na natin mababago ’yun,” he said. 

(We want to focus on the kind of future our fellow Maranaos and Lanao del Sur will have. I don’t want to dwell on the past because it’s done, we can no longer change it.) 

To be sure, Lanao del Sur has many problems to face. In Marawi alone, there’s the problem of the city’s rehabilitation in the aftermath of a months-long war in 2017. Marcos Jr has said he sees no need to “prioritize” Marawi rehab since President Duterte had done it already. Rehabilitation efforts – especially for residents who lost their homes and property – is far from over. – Rappler.com 

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Bea Cupin

Bea is a senior multimedia reporter who covers national politics. She's been a journalist since 2011 and has written about Congress, the national police, and the Liberal Party for Rappler.