By Ali Macabalang
COTABATO CITY – There will be no midterm elections in 14 of the 36 towns in Maguindanao, a province in the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region (BAR), where feudal politics once peaked with the infamous Maguindanao massacre of 2009.
The 14 Maguindanao towns where mayoral candidates face no rivals, according to a 2019 list of officials candidates from the Commission on Elections (Comelec), are Buluan, Pandag, Mangudadatu, Paglat, Datu Anggal Midtimbang, Datu Blah Sinsuat, Datu Odin Sinsuat, Kabuntalan, Sultan Kudarat, Sultan Mastura, Datu Paglas, Guindolungan, Ampatuan and Talayan.
In Buluan, the new provincial capital town, Babydats Dingcong-Mangudadatu, son of incumbent Mayor Lorena and ex-Mayor Ibrahim Mangudadatu is running unopposed in the mayoralty race, and so with vice mayoral running-mate Ramlain Mangudadatu-Kadalim.
Mayor Zihan Mamalinta-Mangudadatu of adjacent Pandag town is also seeking reelection unopposed. Her running-mate, Dante Mamalinta, is also unopposed in the vice mayoral race. She is credited for having turned her town into a “drug-free” community despite the lack of internal revenue allotment (IRA) since inception in 2006.
In Mangudadatu town, Elizabeth Mangudadatu-Tayuan and Prince Mangudadatu-Kadalim are facing no rivals in the mayoral and vice mayoral contests. The mayoral aspirant is the younger sister of incumbent Mayor Freddie Mangudadatu, who is running for governor in the coming polls.
Freddie Mangudaatu seeks to succeed his eldest brother, incumbent three-term Governor Esmael Mangudadatu, who is running for the second Congressional seat in Maguindanao vacated by his younger sibling, Rep. Zajid “Dong” Manguadadatu who is running for senator under the PDP-Laban and Hugpong ng Pagbabago party.
Vice Mayoral bet Prince Mangudadatu-Dilangalen (PDP-Laban) also has no rival.
Paglat town Mayor Abdulkarim Langkuno, a former assemblyman of the defunct Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM), has no rival in his fifth term bid. He completed his three mayoral terms in 2013, during which his wife Zulaika succeeded via election. In 2016, he returned to his post via another unopposed bid.
In Datu Anggal Midtimbang town, Mary Joy Uy-Midtimbang is running for mayor without an opponent. She is the wife of incumbent Mayor Nathaniel Midtimbang, who challenges Gov. Mangudadatu in the Congressional race. Datu Blah Sinsuat town Mayor Marshall Sinsuat (PDP-Laban) is also seeking reelection unopposed. His wife, Raida Tomawis-Sinsuat, is also facing no rival in the vice mayoral race.
In Kabuntalan, incumbent Mayor Salaban Diocolano and Vice Mayoral bet Datu Rahaf Diocolano have no rivals in the coming polls.
Sultan Kudarat town Mayor Shameem Mastura and running-mate Norhaina Mastura-Maik are facing no opponents in the mayoral and vice mayoral contests.
In adjacent Sultan Mastura town, incumbent Mayor Rauf Mastura and running-mate Julhani Tumbas Jr. also have no opponents in the coming elections.