Dima­poros still lord over Lanao del Norte

Ali’s dis­play of loy­alty made him the clos­est among the Mus­lim al­lies of Mar­cos, from which re­la­tions he de­rived im­mense power and in­flu­ence es­pe­cially dur­ing the pe­riod of mar­tial rule N THE ROAD FROM LI­NA­mon to Ka­p­ata­gan towns in Lanao del Norte, the cu

Philippine Daily Inquirer - - INQUIRERMINDANAO - By Ryan D. Rosauro Inquirer Min­danao

OAng­ging is Imelda Quibranza, wife of out­go­ing Rep. Ab­dul­lah Dima­poro, who is the son of Mo­ham­mad Ali Dima­poro, one of the most pow­er­ful Min­danao politi­cians dur­ing the strong­man rule of Pres­i­dent Fer­di­nand Mar­cos and more known for his war­lord ex­ploits.

Aliah and Khalid are Ab­dul­lah and Ang­ging’s chil­dren, and their can­di­dacy in­di­cates the in­fu­sion of fresh blood into the Dima­poro dy­nasty that serves to fur­ther deepen a gen­er­a­tion into pol­i­tics.

Aliah is seek­ing to re­place Ab­dul­lah in the post he has held for three con­sec­u­tive three-year terms, while Khalid seeks an­other man­date as gover­nor, for which he was elected in 2007.

Fac­ing no for­mi­da­ble op­po­nents, their can­di­da­cies, in­clud­ing that of Ang­ging, are widely ex­pected to be a breeze.

Third gen­er­a­tion

The May 10 elec­tion brings the Dima­poro dy­nasty into a new era, marked by a much ag­gres­sive pass­ing of the torch to third-gen­er­a­tion scions, and greater power and wider foothold over a prov­ince of more than 530,000 peo­ple.

Ex­cept for a brief two-year pe­riod fol­low­ing the 1986 Edsa up­ris­ing that ended Mar­cos’ rule, the Dima­poro fam­ily has been in power for the last 50 years.

Had he been alive, Ali would be cel­e­brat­ing tri­umph for hav­ing built a po­lit­i­cal dy­nasty that has stayed this long and is still go­ing strong.

In “An An­ar­chy of Fam­i­lies,” which de­scribed po­lit­i­cal dy­nas­ties in the coun­try, G. Carter Bent­ley notes that at the time of his reign, Ali’s “was a po­lit­i­cal dy­nasty only one gen­er­a­tion deep, but he is al­ready lay­ing the ground­work to ex­tend it into the fu­ture.”

Sul­tan’s son

Born from mod­est ori­gins, Ali is the el­dest of the eight chil­dren of Datu Mara­hom Dima­poro, the sul­tan of Bini­dayan, and Potri-Maamor Born­gao. Bini­dayan is a mi­nor prin­ci­pal­ity based in a small town of the same name in the south­ern shores of Lake Lanao.

Ali’s lead­er­ship among theMaranao peo­ple was first honed when he fought as a guer­rilla against the Ja­panese forces in the Philip­pines dur­ingWorldWar II.

Af­ter the war, Ali­was among the few Mus­lim lead­ers who em­braced elec­toral pol­i­tics, join­ing the Lib­eral Party (LP), amid their gen­eral dis­con­tent over Amer­ica’s de­ci­sion to lump the Moros into the Philip­pine polity at the grant of in­de­pen­dence in 1946.

In sev­eral man­i­festos is­sued be­fore 1946, the Mus­lim lead­ers expressed strong reser- va­tions over the thought of be­ing gov­erned by Filipinos.

Ali won a con­gres­sional seat in 1949, rep­re­sent­ing the un­di­vided Lanao. He con­tested the re­sult of the 1953 polls for the same seat and won his case a few months be­fore the term ex­pired. He suf­fered a rout in 1957, and has since with­drawn from elec­toral pol­i­tics.

Ali prob­a­bly re­al­ized at that time that his in­flu­ence was no match with the Alon­toLuc­man roy­alty.

Po­lit­i­cal break

His po­lit­i­cal break came when Lanao was di­vided into two prov­inces in 1959—pre­dom­i­nantly Maranao and Mus­lim Lanao del Sur, and Lanao del Norte, which has a fair mix of Chris­tian and Mus­lim in­hab­i­tants.

Ili­gan City politician Sal­vador Lluch was the first gover­nor of the in­fant Lanao del Norte. Ali snatched the post in 1960 in what was seen as a clas­sic vic­tory with a slim mar­gin of only sev­eral hun­dred votes.

He was re­elected and oc­cu­pied the post un­til 1965 when he stepped down in fa­vor of the vice gover­nor, Arse­nio Quibranza, a staunch po­lit­i­cal foe, af­ter earn­ing a con­gres­sional seat.

The po­lit­i­cal ri­valry be­tween Quibranza and Dima­poro height­ened Mus­lim-Chris­tian ten­sion in the prov­ince that also de­fined the lat­ter’s war­lord im­age.

Ac­cord­ing to Bent­ley, Ali’s “… guns, goons and gold, swirl around him with manic aban­don.”

The rift only ended with a Mala­cañang­bro­kered set­tle­ment capped by the mar­riage of their scions, Imelda and Ab­dul­lah.

Both Quibranza and Dima­poro are Mar­cos fans. Ang­ging was named af­ter his wife, while a son of Ali was named Mar­cos.

Ali was deft in han­dling ri­vals as shown in his shift from the gu­ber­na­to­rial to a con­gres­sional post in 1965, for which he was re­elected in 1969.

Mar­cos loy­al­ist

De­spite wide­spread stir­ring among Mus­lims fol­low­ing the Jabidah Mas­sacre in 1968, Ali stood by Mar­cos. At least 28 Mus­lims re­cruited for amis­sion to in­vade Sabah were killed in the mas­sacre on Cor­regi­dor Is­land on March 18, 1968, stok­ing theMoro in­sur­gency in the coun­try.

Ali’s dis­play of loy­alty made him the clos­est among the Mus­lim al­lies of Mar­cos, from which re­la­tions he de­rived im­mense power and in­flu­ence es­pe­cially dur­ing the pe­riod of mar­tial rule.

In 1976, Mar­cos ap­pointed Ali as gover­nor of his home prov­ince, Lanao del Sur—a post he was not able to earn through elec­tion. He was also made con­cur­rent pres­i­dent of the state-owned Min­danao State Uni­ver­sity (MSU). His long stint in MSU is marked by im­prove­ments in the school’s phys­i­cal fa­cil­i­ties.

It was not un­til 1984 that Ali’s son Ab­dul­lah, a US trained econ­o­mist, fol­lowed in his po­lit­i­cal foot­steps by be­ing elected assem­bly­man of the uni­cam­eral Batasang Pam­bansa, rep­re­sent­ing Lanao del Norte.

Al­though closely al­lied with Mar­cos, the Dima­poros sur­vived the post-Edsa I era seem­ingly un­shaken, ex­cept that they lost power in Lanao del Sur.


WORK­ING dy­nas­ties reign in Lanao del Norte prov­ince as mem­bers of the Dima­poro fam­ily run in tan­dem for elec­tive po­si­tions. In­cum­bent Gov. Mo­ham­mad Khalid Dima­poro, the el­dest son, is seek­ing re­elec­tion while his­mother, Imelda “Ang­ging” Quibranza-Dima­poro, and el­dest daugh­ter, Fatima Aliah Dima­poro, run for rep­re­sen­ta­tives in the first and sec­ond dis­tricts of the prov­ince un­der Lakas-Kampi-CMD.

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