MANILA — Prominent members of the powerful Mangudadatu clan of Maguindanao became members of Aksyon Demokratiko, a party now led by Manila Mayor Isko Moreno.
Maguindanao 2nd District Representative Esmael “Toto” Mangudadatu, who was once a member of President Rodrigo Duterte’s party PDP-Laban, was among 49 politicians who took their oath as new Aksyon members on Friday, Oct. 1, 2021.
He was joined by four other members of their clan, according to a list provided by Aksyon.
At the same time, Ernest Ramel, Aksyon chairman, clarified that the Bai Mariam Mangudadatu they had listed as a new member of the party is not the same person running for governor but her namesake. She is a Mangudadatu relative running for councilor.
The four members of the Mangudadatu clan are: Maguindanao Board Member King Mangudadatu, Maguindanao Board Member candidate Yshmael Powa “Tisoy” Mangudadatu, candidate for councilor Bai Mariam Mangudadatu, and Shariffa Akeel Mangudadatu.
Representative Mangudadatu’s apparent shift in loyalties from Duterte to Moreno is a significant development, given his influence over a Mindanao province with a population of 1.3 million as of the 2020 census.
Moreno sorely needs help from Mindanao politicians to make headway against rivals for the presidency who hail from the region, like Senator Manny Pacquiao.
Davao City Mayor Sara Duterte, who has said she is not running for president but continues to top pre-electoral surveys, is a favorite of the region to win the top post.
Toto’s gubernatorial bid is supported by Bangsamoro Interim Chief Minister Murad Ebrahim.
In 2018, Mangudadatu was among the Maguindanao politicians who joined Duterte’s PDP-Laban.
In the 2019 elections, his brother Zajid Mangudadatu, was included in the party’s senatorial slate but lost his bid.
Toto was Maguindanao governor from 2010 to 2019 and is now seeking the same post after his time in the House of Representatives.
(Kiara Lauren Ibanez/BENJAMIN CUARESMA/ai/mtvn)