BBM, Sara post phenomenal sweep in 2022 polls

By Ali G. Macabalang

COTABATO CITY – Senator Ferdinand Marcos Jr. and running-mate Davao City Mayor Sara Duterte-Carpio have set phenomenal victories in the last presidential and vice presidential elections, garnering the highest votes in the history of national elections in the Philippines.



The former senator, known as Bongbong or BBM, garnered 31.1 million votes and surpassed by almost 50 percent the 16.6-million votes obtained by incumbent President Rodrigo Duterte in 2016. Duterte’s mark was the country’s highest before this year’s polls.

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Mayor and Presidential daughter Sara has posted a more amazing votes’ mark at 31.5 million bigger than her male running-mate’s, surpassing by more than 60 percent the 14.4 million votes garnered by incumbent Vice President Leni Robrido in the 2016 election.

BBM’s votes were even bigger than the 21.8 million combined votes obtained by nine other presidential candidates. Vice President Robredo ranked second in the presidential race with 14.8 million votes.

Sara’s votes were similarly bigger by 20-million than the total votes garnered by all eight other vice presidential bets. Ranking second in the race is Senator Kiko Pangilinan, who obtained 9.2 million votes.

During the campaign period, political analysts had predicted that Sara would obtain votes bigger than BBM because incumbent political leaders and groups in some provinces and regions opting for BBM rival candidates adopted her as vice presidential choice.

But critics, including renowned journalists who were dismayed over their lack of access to BBM and his evasion of most presidential candidates’ debates and forums, were surprised by the former senator’s amass of landslide votes in all regions except the Bicol region and Region 6, which are Robredo’s bailiwicks being a Bicolana and an ally of reigning opposition Ilonggo politicians.

Even in the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (BARMM), where the ruling United Bangsamoro Justice Party chose Robredo and narrations mounted in the social against the nightmares caused by the dictatorial rule of BBM’s late father, the Ilocano former senator led his rival candidates with considerable votes-lead.

What also came as phenomenal was BBM’s drawing of votes in many provinces and cities bigger than those gotten by incumbent mayors and governors seeking re-election.

In Sulu, for instance, BBM and Sara obtained 313,281 and 318,250 votes, respectively, bigger than those received by incumbent Governor Sakur Tan and his son Sakur Tan II. They father and son gathered 312,286 and 309,530 votes, respectively, in their unopposed reelection bids.

The Tans and their political allies in Sulu towns and congressional districts campaigned vigorously for BBM and Sara. But it was unlikely that the unopposed governor and vice governor would receive lesser votes under normal time.

Nevertheless, the phenomenal electoral feats of BBM and Sara in Sulu was also attributed to the staunch support of the camp of Moro National Liberation Front (MNLF) founding Chairman Nur Misuari, who remains influential in the island province.

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Implication to BARMM political landscape

Because of the amazing outcome of votes for BBM and Sara from Sulu, some quarters have speculated the possible entry of Gov. Tan or Misuari to the BARMM officialdom.

Misuari was once elected regional governor of the defunct Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM). Gov. Tan had once run for ARMM governor but lost to sitting regional governor Mujiv Hataman.

Gov. Tan and Hataman, now a lone Congressman of Basilan, had allied forces with couple Mariam and Suharto “Ten” Mangudadatu, elected governors of Maguindanao and Sultan Kudarat, respectively, to mount an opposition to the campaign for an extension in the transitional operation of the BARMM government from 2022 to 2025.

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But the alliance failed after Congress passed a law postponing the BARMM’s first parliament election in 2022 and extending the lifespan of the Bangsamoro Transition Authority (BTA), the ruling body of the autonomous region. The President signed the law on Oct. 28, 2021

The enacted law contains a provision allowing President Duterte or his successor to appoint new members of the 90-seat BTA parliament. Duterte did not make use of the provision.

Avid supporters of BBM in BARMM were upbeat about the probability of the president-elect to exercise the provision. They said Misuari and outgoing Governor Teng Mangudadatu would likely be appointed BTA members. Even Gov. Tan may relinquish his post to his vice governor-son and seek appointment in the BTA, they said.

The couple-governors campaigned staunchly for BBM in the last elections. And for Gov. Teng Mangudadatu, his desire for appointment in the BTA is certain as he once announced in the social media such plan to vie for a top position in the BARMM governance, either the parliament speakership or the chief minister’s slot now occupied by Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) chairman Ahod “Hadji Murad” Ebrahim.

According to a source from the camp of the couple-governors, the anti-BTA extension leaders might even move for the appointment of their ally – Cotabato City Mayor Cynthia Guiani-Sayadi – after a year for the position of BARMM’s Ministry of Interior and Local Government (MILG).

Mayor Guiani-Sayadi ran for reelection but lost to veteran city councilor Mohammad-Ali “Bruce” Matabalao, who was fielded by the MILF’s political party – the UBJP.

Reelected Maguindanao Gov. Mariam Mangudadatu and Mayor Sayadi had been vocal against top BARMM officials, notably Chief Minister Ebrahim and MILF Minister Naguib Sinarimbo for their “direct intervention” in the last political exercises against those who opposed the BTA extension stride.

Earlier, however, MILF and BARMM officials argued with confidence that the national government, regardless of any sitting president, will have to respect R.A. 11054 or Bangsamoro Organic Law) that created the new autonomous region.

The law, which Congress enacted in 2018 on the basis of the government’s peace accords with MILF, provides for the transitional rule of the revolutionary front in the autonomous region. (AGM)

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