COTABATO CITY, Philippines - Acting Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao Gov. Mujiv Hataman on Friday dismissed as “whimsical” insinuations that Malacañang has designated a new caretaker for the region.
Hataman was denying a claim by Eid Kabalu, former spokesman of the Moro Islamic Liberation Front and now a “security consultant” of the Army’s 6th Infantry Division in Maguindanao, that President Benigno Aquino III has appointed Saripada Amir Hussein as Hataman’s replacement.
For at least two weeks now, there are talks about about some enterprising persons offering “appointments” to key positions in the ARMM’s executive department, in exchange for a big amount of money.
The erring individuals are bragging that new appointment papers will be signed by Hussein as soon as he assumes as the new acting regional governor.
“Personally I don’t know who this Mr. Hussein is and President Aquino has not informed me about wanting to replace me. The President and me we’re together just very recently and we’ve been exchanging text messages frequently. He did not inform me that I should step down as [the] appointed chief executive of ARMM,” Hataman said.
Kabalu, who was booted out of the MILF’s leadership core for entering into alliances with certain politicians and for allegedly receiving from them campaign funds during the 2010 synchronized local and national elections, said he saw the appointment paper of Hussein bearing the President’s signature.
“It seems there are people who are disseminating wrong information to create chaos in the ARMM,” Hataman said.
Hataman said the President will inform him if he, indeed, has already appointed his replacement as the new caretaker for ARMM.
Hataman, who served in the House of Representatives with President Aquino as Anak Mindanao partylist representative, was appointed as acting regional governor in 2011.
Hataman is tasked to act as a caretaker of the regional government until the creation of a new Bangsamoro region that would replace the ARMM.
The government and the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) signed in October last year the Framework Agreement on the Bangsamoro (FAB), which paves the way for the creation of a new autonomous region in Mindanao.
“Well, it would be easier for the smooth transition to happen if I’m the ARMM governor because I will step down without any complain, willingly, if the government and MILF panels agree to set up new [regional] leaders,” Hataman said.
Hataman is running for governor of the ARMM in this year's elections under the ruling Liberal Party.