REGGIE Sahali-Generale, speaker of the Regional Legislative Assembly (RLA) of the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (Armm), has been named acting vice governor in a record-setting decision.

Generale is the first woman who occupies the second top post in the 20-year-old autonomous region.

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Generale, the daughter of Tawi-Tawi Governor Sadikul Sahali, promptly accepted the appointment Monday by acting Armm Governor Ansaruddin Alonto-Adiong, prompting the regional legislature to elect in a regular session on the same day Ronnie Sinsuat of Maguindanao as the new speaker.

Generale expressed her elation over the confidence endowed her by the Adiong administration, which came into power as a result of the suspension and detention of Armm Governor Zaldy Ampatuan in connection with the Maguindanao massacre on November 23, 2009.

Generale described as an added highlight of her "frightening experience" of heading once the male-dominated 24-member regional legislature, which elected as first lady speaker under the Ampatuan administration.

The appointment paper, in pursuit of Muslim Mindanao Autonomy Act No. 277, made Generale a successor in the regional vice gubernatorial slot vacated by Adiong upon his designation by Malacañang as acting governor on December 11, 2009 following the suspension and detention of Ampatuan.

Two months ago, the regional legislature drafted a resolution electing Sinsuat as the new speaker in the event of Generale's acceptance of her designation as acting vice governor.

The passage of the resolution was held in abeyance in view of the heating up election campaign for the May 10, 2010 polls and partly because of loose talks about the possible clearing of Ampatuan from indictment and his return to office.

In its regular session last Monday in Cotabato City, the regional legislature passed the resolution, which also named Sulu Assemblyman Abdel Anni as speaker pro-tempore.

Adiong said the appointment of Generale as acting vice governor should erase a notion that female dignitaries do not have access to top leadership in Muslim politics.

"The appointment (of Generale) widened the playing field in the Armm governance," Adiong said. (Bong Garcia)