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
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.
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.”
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.
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.
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.