By Thomas M. McKenna
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Extra resources for Muslim Rulers and Rebels: Everyday Politics and Armed Separatism in the Southern Philippines (Comparative Studies on Muslim Societies)
It seems likely that the open competition among datus for followers both moderated the behavior of datus toward their followers and encouraged followers to look for better arrangements if unsatisfied with their present situation. All the same, the actual ability of followers to change leaders was probably severely limited. Both leaving one's current datu and joining another were risky undertakings because of the advantages and interests held by datus collectively. A datu could convert his follower into a debt-bondsman (ulipun) practically at will and without warning; and, because all notable datus had debt-slaves, members of the ruling class respected each other's property rights in acquired persons and tended to honor requests for the return of escaped debt-bondsmen (Ileto 1971; Gullick 1958).
The tarsilas record that Tabunaway acknowledged the sovereignty of Sarip Kabungsuwan and his descendants in exchange for certain privileges. The first entitlement was that neither he nor his descendants would pay tribute to any datu. Hadji Abbas expressed the distinction between endatuan and dumatu in his inged this way: "At harvest time the datu sent sacks to the endatuan who were obliged to fill all the sacks the datu gave them.  The dumatus have kept their own genealogical records of the Tabunaway descent line, principally to preserve their privileges visà-vis the Magindanaon aristocracy.
The endatuan were the subjects of datus rather than of the realm; they were considered residents of particular ingeds (settlements) and subordinate to specific datus. The status of the endatuan seems to have been negatively defined. They were the followers of (and likely bore some kinship relation to) local chieftains. But unlike their rulers, they were unable to demonstrate sufficient kinship links with Sarip Kabungsuwan, the prime datu ancestor, to qualify as datus. The second tier was occupied by the dumatus.