By Ali Macabalang
COTABATO CITY – Following viral protests by Maranao royalties and professionals, the Marawi City Sangguniang Panlungsod has declared persona non grata a non-resident dignitary, who was enthroned as “Sultana” in Minsupala including the Lanao region in ceremonies early this month.
“Maria Amor Torres is hereby declared persona non grata within the vicinity of this Islamic city,” declared Resolution No. 09-10, which the city council, presided by City Vice Mayor Anouar Abdulrauf, passed on October 8.
An e-copy of the resolution was posted on Facebook amid complaints lodged by groups and individuals against the “surreptitious” enthronement of Torres as “Sultana a Gaus in Minsupala (Mindanao-Sulu-Palawan).”
The Federation of Women Royalty of Lanao (FWRL), led by Marawi City Regional Trial Court Executive Judge Wenida Macugar-Papandayan, also came up with an earlier manifesto opposing Torres’ enthronement, saying she did not have the royal lineage entitling her to acquire royal title in Lanao region, much more in Minsupala.
Last week, the Sultanate of Sulu also posted a manifesto disowning Torres and objecting to her royal entitlement.
Torres’ hosts from the “Lamusprof” (Lanao Muslim Professionals) originally scheduled the “enthronement” rites at the Ayala Resort Hotel in Marawi City’s Mindanao State University man campus on October 20, but held the event ahead of schedule on Octover 7 in Balo-I, Lanao del Norte due to mounting protests.
In reaction, Torres has reportedly consulted lawyers to study possible counter measures against the criticisms that tended to undermine her humanitarian efforts to provide projects beneficial to Maranao families displaced in the May 2017 Marawi siege.
Torres, described in posts as a humanitarian philanthropist, is the president of a non-government entity called “We Care for Humanity.” Her Facebook posts showed her having obtained royal titles in Sri Lanka, Indonesia and other parts of the globe for her humanitarian initiatives.
But the Marawi City legislative council argued that Torres’ enthronement as “Sultana a Gaus” had defied the ijma and taritib (culture and traditions) upheld by Moro sultanates for centuries.