(Last in a series)

The Gubernatorial contest in the Province of Maguindanao for the May 2013 Elections is between the incumbent Gov. Ismael ‘Toto’ Mangudadatu and Sultan Kudarat Mayor Tucao ‘Tocs’ Mastura.


The Mastura Clan continues to enjoy a complete control over the former Municipality of Nuling now divided in the Municipality of Sultan Kudarat and Municipality of Sultan Mastura. Mayor Tocs is the recognized ‘Patriarch’ of the clan. His younger brother, Armando, is the incumbent Mayor of Sultan Mastura and his other brother, the former Rep. Michael Mastura, is now a senior member of the MILF Peace Panel.


Mayor Tocs is a certified public accountant by profession. He has a colorful career both in politics as well as in the Moro Rebellion. His leadership of the clan is beyond question.


As a student of Notre Dame University, Mayor Tocs excelled in campus leadership as well as in studies. His progressive and radical vision for the Bangsa Moro made him join the original group of MNLF in the Cotabato Province. His return to the ‘fold of law’ as a response to President Marcos’ ‘Policy of Attraction’ was a big event in 1977. Mr. Marcos appointed him Mayor of Nuling and he would continue to ‘rule’ the place for many more years to come.


His first attempt to go beyond his traditional ‘fiefdom’ was during the first elections in the Province of Sharif Kabungsuan created by the Regional Legislative Assembly by the power vested by the Organic Act or RA 9054. It was a hotly contested election between the Mastura and the Sinsuat that gave NO victory to both until the Supreme Court struck down the said province by ruling that the said provision in the law is ‘unconstitutional’.


Within the context of traditional clan alliances and partnership, the break between the 2010 political ‘marriage’ between the Mangudadatu Clan and the Mastura Clan is short lived. It is, definitely, a bold move on the part of Mayor Tocs Mastura to challenge a former ally, incumbent Gov. Toto Mangudadatu.


Mayor Tocs Mastura is able to form a new political alliance composed of four prominent clans to launch his challenge to the Mangudadatu rule in the province. Mayor Mastura relies primarily on this political alliance that he is able to forge. The inter-clan alliance is composed of the Mastura Clan of the original Nuling Municipality (now divided into two municipalities), the Midtimbang Clan of the original Talayan Municipality (now divided into 3 small municipalities), the Ampatuan Clan of the original Maganoy Municipality (now divided into 4 small municipalities), and the Matalam Clan of the original Pagalungan Municipality (now divided into two small municipalities). The popular name for this alliance is MMMA or Mastura, Midtimbang, Matalam and Ampatuan Alliance.


The other pillar of Mayor Mastura’s candidacy is his claimed support of the MILF. The grapevine is clogged with rumored MILF support for Mastura and other ‘MILF anointed candidates both in the province and the city of Cotabato, notwithstanding the official pronouncement of MILF Chairman Murad Ibrahim that the MILF is NOT endorsing any candidates.


As Patriarch of the Mastura Clan, Mayor Tucao is recognized as the ‘RULER” of the original Nuling Municipality and the Clan. He seems to enjoy the prerogative to decide and anoint who run for public office in their traditional ‘fiefdom’. He, too, is the architect of any inter-clan alliances.


There are several members of the Mastura Clan vying for positions in May 2013 Elections. Three more prominent ones are his grandson, Shamin, for Mayor of the Municipality of Sultan Kudarat whose candidacy is almost assured given only a token opposition; in the next-door Municipality of Sultan Mastura, Mayor Armando’s son is the candidate for Mayor; and the incumbent Vice Governor, Dustin Mastura, is contesting a seat in the Regional Legislative Assembly.


The real issue in May 2013 Elections is the solidity of the MMMA Alliance to ‘breach’ the Mangudadatu ‘fortress’ built not only on the support of the 26 LGU’s in the province but also on PNoy’s official anointment.


The 3-year rule of Gov. Toto Mangudadatu beginning 2010 marks a new beginning. The province has seen a new star rising from the Maguindanao Massacre that has precipitated the collapse of the Ampatuan Clan’s hold to power in the province and the ARMM.


Will the Mangudadatu star continue to rise as it consolidates its rule in the province? Would it withstand the onslaught of a new political alliance forged by Mayor Tucao Mastura meant to cut short the Mangudadatu rule in the province?


Part 1: The changeless clans of Maguindanao 

Part 2: The political clans of Maguindanao


Follow Fr. Eliseo Mercado on Twitter @junmeromi.