He was elected as Senator in 1969 but he was unable to finish his term because President Ferdinand Marcos declared martial law. During the martial law years, he went on self-exile to Saudi Arabia staying there until 1986, when Marcos was ousted by the People Power Revolution. Shortly afterwards, he became a member of President Corazon Aquino’s cabinet as Deputy Minister of Foreign Relations.

In 1987, he was elected again to the Senate. As a Senator, he worked for the autonomy for the Muslims and the rest of Mindanao and on Mindanao’s natural resources to upgrade the conditions of that islands. He was the principal author of Republic Act 6848, which provided for the charter of the Al-Amanah Islamic Investment Bank of the Philippines.