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Datu Zacaria A. Candao[1] is a Filipino politician who served as the first governor of the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM).[2]

Zacaria Candao
1st Governor of the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao
In office
July 6, 1990 – 1993
PresidentCorazon Aquino
Fidel V. Ramos
Preceded byNone, Office established
Succeeded byLininding Pangandaman
Governor of Maguindanao
In office
PresidentFidel V. Ramos
Joseph Estrada
Preceded byNorodin Matalam
Succeeded byAndal Ampatuan Sr.
In office
1986 – 1990
Acting from 1986–1989
PresidentCorazon Aquino
Preceded bySandiale Sambolawan
Succeeded byNorodin Matalam
In office
? – 1977
PresidentFerdinand Marcos
Preceded bySimeon A. Datumanong
Succeeded bySanggacala M. Baraguir
Personal details



Maguindanao governor (until 1977)Edit

Zacaria Candao became the second governor of the Maguindanao province succeeding Simeon A. Datumanong. He resigned on April 1, 1977. Sultan Kudarat Municipal Mayor Sanggacala M. Baraguir was appointed by then President Ferdinand Marcos to succeed Candao.[3]

Events leading to the 1986 People Power RevolutionEdit

During the 1986 Philippine presidential snap election, Candao supported the candidacy of Corazon Aquino as provincial chairman of the Maguindanao and Cotabato City chapter of the United Nationalist Democratic Organization, an opposition party which is against the administration of then-incumbent President Ferdinand Marcos. He linked the interests of Muslim Filipinos in the UNIDO platform and facilitated the defection of Filipino Muslim politicians who were part of Kilusang Bagong Lipunan, the ruling party, to UNIDO.[4] Marcos contested win over the 1986 elections later led to his ouster in the People Power Revolution of February 1986 which saw Corazon Aquino installed as President of the Philippines.

Magundanao governor (1986–1990)Edit

After the People Power Revolution, Candao was appointed as acting governor of Maguindanao in April 5, 1986 by then President Corazon Aquino.[3] He was also the acting chairman of the Executive Council of the Regional Autonomous Government for Central Mindanao.[5]Candao was elected as Maguindanao's governor in 1989, he later resigned to run as governor of the then-newly created Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao and was succeeded by Vice Governor Norodin Matalam as Maguindanao governor.[3]

As ARMM governor (1990–1993)Edit

Candao participated in ARMM's first gubernatorial elections on February 12, 1990[6] and was elected as the autonomous region's first governor. He officially assumed the post months later on July 6, 1990.[2] He vied for a second term in the 1993 March elections but lost to Lininding P. Pangandaman.[7]

Maguindanao governor (1995–2001)Edit

After being the ARMM regional governor, Candao ran again for the post of Governor of Maguindanao in 1995. He was successful and won re-election in 1998. He lost to Andal Ampatuan Sr. in the 2001 elections.[3]

Embezzlement caseEdit

The Sandiganbayan found Candao along his brother and executive secretary Abas Candao guilty of nine counts of malversation in October 2008 sentencing him to 162 years of prison (18 years per count) for embezzling ₱21 million of public funds. Then-state auditor Heidi Mendoza led a team that discovered the unlawful release of 52 checks from December 1992 to March 1993. Candao filed a motion for consideration before the Supreme Court on October 19, 2011 to reverse the guilty verdict. The high court however upheld the decision in early 2012 after it found "no compelling reason" for the petition.[8]


  1. ^ "Ampatuan v. Comelec G. R. No. 149803 | J. Pardo En Banc". Supreme Court of the Philippines. 31 January 2002. Retrieved 9 March 2018.
  2. ^ a b "ARMM turns 25 today". Philippine Center for Investigative Journalism. 17 February 2015. Retrieved 9 March 2018.
  3. ^ a b c d "Maguindanao". Philippine Information Agency. Retrieved 9 March 2018.
  4. ^ McKenna, Thomas (10 August 1998). "Muslim Nationalism after Marcos". Muslim Rulers and Rebels: Everyday Politics and Armed Separatism in the Southern Philippines. University of California Pres. pp. 238–245. ISBN 9780520919648. Retrieved 9 March 2018.
  5. ^ McKenna, Thomas (1998). "Muslim Nationalism after Marcos". Muslim Rulers and Rebels : Everyday Politics and Armed Separatism in the Southern Philippines. University of California Press. pp. 241–242. Retrieved 9 March 2018.
  6. ^ "ARMM history and organization". GMA News. 11 August 2008. Retrieved 9 March 2018.
  7. ^ "History of DSWD ARMM". Department of Social Welfare and Development : Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao. Retrieved 9 March 2018.
  8. ^ Tubeza, Philip (14 February 2012). "Supreme Court affirms guilt of ex-ARMM Gov. Zacaria Candao". Philippine Daily Inquirer. Retrieved 9 March 2018.