POLITICAL DEVELOPMENTS UNDER
(1935 – 1941)
The first opportunity for Cotabato to have elective officials was occasioned by the choice of delegates to the Constitutional Convention of 1935. The electors consisted of the municipal districts presidents, vice president and councilors. Cotabato elected: Datu Blah Sinsuat and Datu Menandang Piang. These gentlemen were first generation of educated Maguindanao. Atty. Piang served as chairman of the committee on Special Provinces of which Datu Blah Sinsuat was a member. The people of Cotabato voted in favor of ratification of new constitution with most vote cast coming from resident Christian Filipinos in the capital town. The result of the plebiscite was; 3,104 in favor and 491 against.
The election of national assemblymen in September 1935was not only lively but interesting because the town voted for its national officials. Datu Menandang Piang challenged Datu Sinsuat Balabaran, who twice his age and who had served in the old legislature with his father as appointed.
Senator from the 12th District of Mindanao and Sulu. Datu Menandang was badly beaten after a pre-election campaign in which he charged that governor Dionisio Gutierrez took Swimsuit’s side. According to Ralph Tomas, Datu Menandang was apparently regarded as an ally of secretary of the interior as Governor Gutierrez was called to manila to explain the accusation. He was exonerated of the charges, however, as reported in elected mayor of the municipality of Cotabato was Alejandro Dorotheo and voted for the first time, as vice mayor was Jose L. Lim.
The forerunner of factional politics came about in the appointment of Datu Salipada Pendatun, another young Maguindanao Lawyer, as third member of the provincial board sometime after Datu Sinsuat Balabaran defeated Datu Menandang Piang 1935election for assemblyman.
In the next two elections for the national legislature Datu Ugalingan Piang, a brother of Datu Menandang, defeated Datu Sinsuat Balabaran. The predominance of the upper valley was further seen in the election of the two of the upriver Datu into the provincial board, namely: Datu Painkilling. Two appointive governors still served before the
Outbreak of the war, Jose Cui and later maintain close’ ties with the Christian elements of the Municipality of Cotabato and evidently had the covert support of Governor Alfonso Pablo in the 1941 elections. At the outbreak of the war there was one regular municipality the capital and together with 37 municipal districts embraced the empire province.
Before leaving these sections, we may hasten to record that Oblates of Mary Immaculate came to the province in 1939 headed by now Bishop Gerard Mongeau. The Oblate fathers organized one of the first private schools of the Notre Dame of Midsayap; other private schools were the union Institute of Pikit. Frederick Doherty who was one of he ‘Thomasites’, then I.B. Edwards Kuder, John Stumbo and Colin Mackenzie, pioneered education in the province. Among the Filipinos were Siwa Guiana, Apolinario Corpuz, Sixto Tacardon, Calixto Panes, Adolfo Cascolan, Jose Hombrebano and Simeon Millan Sr. to name but a few Maguindanao teachers to the position of academic supervisor. According to miscellaneous Information collated by Governor Gutierrez in 1932. Cotabato had 117 schools, which included the Cotabato high schools, the Upi agricultural school, 2 farm schools and 97 other schools. The elementary schools at that time were divided into ten supervising districts. There seems to have been a material decline of enrollment of Muslim of decrease over previous years was noted annually also according to the yearbook of the Philippine Islands of 1930.