MILF CANDIDATES. Moro Islamic Liberation Front chairperson and United Bangsamoro Justice Party president Ahod Ebrahim speaks to supporters during a party gathering ahead of Monday's national and local elections. MILF announces Friday (May 6, 2022) the names of 12 senatorial aspirants it would support in the polls. (Photo courtesy of Moro Islamic Front Organization)

COTABATO CITY – The Moro Islamic Liberation Front's (MILF) political arm, the United Bangsamoro Justice Party (UBJP), announced Friday their support for 12 senatorial candidates for Monday’s national and local elections.

Joining the country’s electoral process for the first time in history, MILF has earlier endorsed the candidacy of presidential aspirant and Vice President Leni Robredo and Davao City Mayor Sara Duterte for vice president.

In a statement, Ahod Ebrahim, UBJP president, said consensus was reached to support the candidacy of 12 senatorial aspirants, one of whom is the son of former President Joseph Estrada.

It was Estrada who ordered the infamous “all out war” against the MILF in 2000.

Ebrahim, also chief minister of the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (BARMM), named the 12 UBJP-backed senatoriables: Juan Miguel Zubiri, actor Robin Padilla, Sherwin Gatchalian, Riza Hontiveros, Joel Villanueva, Richard Gordon, Loren Legarda, Mark Villar, Samira Gutoc, Chel Diokno, Herbert Bautista, and JV Ejercito.

Among the UBJP's criteria in choosing a candidate is the commitment to "protect and preserve the gains of the Bangsamoro peace process."

“The United Bangsamoro Justice Party is committed to protecting the Bangsamoro people and safeguard the gains of the Bangsamoro peace process,” UBJP said in a statement Friday.

“We join everyone in praying for safe, clean, peaceful and honest elections,” it added. (PNA)