Friday, February 26, 2010

Acting Maguindanao governor replaced, reforms continue in ARMM

COTABATO CITY, Philippines (Mindanao Examiner / Feb. 26, 2010) – Muslim autonomous region Governor Ansaruddin Adiong has named a new acting provincial governor of Maguindanao and vowed to continue reforms in the troubled region, officials told the Mindanao Examiner on Friday.

Ali Macabalang, the regional government spokesman, said Gani Biruar, whose wife is the current Social Welfare Secretary in the autonomous region, was appointed this week and he replaced Nariman Ambolodto.

Ambolodto served as acting governor of Maguindanao in December last year after the brutal murders of 57 people, including at least 31 journalists, in the province blamed to the powerful Ampatuan clan. Among those killed was the wife of Buluan town Vice Mayor Esmael Mangudadatu and his relatives.

Ambolodto was appointed acting provincial governor after the patriarch of the Ampatuan clan and his sons were implicated in the killings. Andal Ampatuan Sr., the governor of Maguindanao; and his son Zaldy Ampatuan, the regional governor; and his brother Andal Ampatuan Jr. who is the mayor of Datu Unsay town and other clan members were implicated in the killings, which authorities said was politically motivated.

“Governor Adiong has appointed Gani Biruar as the new acting Maguindanao governor after a careful selection among those nominated for the post. This is part of the continuing reforms in the Muslim autonomous region to better serve our people,” Macabalang said.

He said Ambolodto is appointed acting vice governor of Maguindanao, a position also held by Tato Ampatuan, who was also linked to the November 23 massacres. The Ampatuan clan denied any involvement in the murders.

Ambolodto, a member of President Gloria Arroyo’s political coalition, Lakas-Kampi-CMD, was replaced days after she was accused of supporting opposition senator Benigno Aquino III who is running for the presidency, instead of former Defense chief Gilberto Teodoro.

Her loyalty to Adiong was also doubted by senior regional officials, but she denied all the allegations and said she is not seeking any elective posts and only wanted to serve her people well. (Mindanao Examiner)

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