Will it be VP LENI or BBM in BARMM?

By Atty. Bayan G. Balt

It will be harsh fight between VP LENI and BBM, this coming May 9, 2022 elections in BARMM, as per media report, four (4) provincial Governors (Lanao del Sur, Maguindanao, Sulu and Tawi-tawi) including the Mayor of Cotabato City declared for BBM, while the BARMM leadership and its political wing United Bangsamoro Justice Party or  (UBJP) and its entire machinery including the Governor of Basilan goes for VP Leni. The result of the 2022 presidential elections (between VP Leni and BBM) will be determinative to the outcome of the forthcoming 2025 regional elections in BARMM. Some says, Its now a fight for political influence between the LGU local leadership and the BARMM regional leadership.  

However, some Marawi City voters don’t agree BBM will win in BARMM due to his family and political backgrounds, they pointed out, BBM visited Marawi City once to campaign for his elections while VP LENI has gone several times before and after the Marawi Siege in the war torn LGU, further she introduced several projects under her Angat Buhay program including housing and school buildings for the IDPS. “The horrors of Marcos, Sr. continue to hounds the Moro people”, as one resident declared.

BARMM Chief Al Hadj Murad said “We are concerned about a Marcos win and an eventual return to power in Malacañang. The wounds are still fresh,” he told the Inquirer over the phone. The Chief Minister was referring to the strings of abuses suffered by Moro communities and individuals at the height of martial law and in the course of quelling the Moro separatist rebellion then led by the Moro National Liberation Front. “While Marcos Jr. was not the one behind the atrocities, he carries his father’s name, and if Muslims hear that name, they also relive the pain of the dictatorship,” Chief Murad explained. (Inquirer news, Apr 2, 2022)

The MILF claimed that thousands of Moros were killed in massacres such as what took place in Malisbong, perpetrated by soldiers and state-sponsored paramilitary forces during martial law. These included the Manili massacreKauswagan massacreTictapul massacrePatikul massacre and Pata Island massacre. (Fernandez, Edwin  “MILF seeks compensation for Moro victims of martial law”Philippine Daily Inquirer. March 3, 2011).

In 2014, the Philippine government finally recognized 1,500 Moro residents of Malisbong village killed in the massacre as martial law victims. Representatives of the Commission on Human Rights helped facilitate the claims of the survivors and the families of the massacre victims to the Php 10 billion fund set by the government for the indemnification of human rights victims during the martial law regime of Ferdinand Marcos, in keeping with the provisions of Republic Act No. 10368, or the Human Rights Victims Reparation and Recognition Act of 2013.(Mindanews. September 26, 2014).

Past elections show, Governors or Mayors don’t dictate election’s results, as one political analyst put it. In the 2016 elections, no mayor or governor declared for Pres. DU30, yet he won overwhelmingly in the region. Some pundits likewise argue, VP LENI may belong to the weaker sex but she is a strong leader, a Lawyer with no corruption’s issues, she has wisely and intelligently utilized the OVP’s budget according to the report of the Commission on Audit. On the other hand BBM is accused of evading payment of estate taxes and has reportedly refused to support the former BBL bill for the Bangsamoro.

 Pres, DU30 was asked once about BBM and said “Hindi ako bilib (No trust in him). He is a weak leader. Totoo yan, di ako naninira ng tao. Talangang weak kasi spoiled child, only son (It’s true, I’m not accusing anybody. He’s just a weak and spoiled child, the only son of the family),” the President added. (Nov. 19, 2021 Inquirer).

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For comment at: bayanbalt@yahoo.com

Atty. Bayan G. Balt is the former Chapter President of the Integrated Bar of the Philippines (IBP Marawi City and Lanao del Sur, 2013-2015) and President of the Alliance of Regional Coalitions Against People’s Poverty (ARCAPP).

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