Press Release
March 14, 2011

Bongbong urges Palace to heed true sentiments of ARMM

Senator Ferdinand "Bongbong" R. Marcos, Jr., chairman of the Senate committee on local government, urged Malacanang to clearly hear and listen to the true sentiments of the people of Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM) on the proposed postponement of the scheduled elections in 2011.

"I wish to remind the Palace officials contemplating the deferment of the August 2011 elections in the ARMM of my earlier warning that the administration should first establish clearly the true sentiments of the people of ARMM regarding the Palace's bill seeking to postpone elections to 2013 and appointing Officers-in-charge (OIC's) in the interim," Marcos said.

He also underscored that, "the administration must avoid being seen as imposing their own demands particularly in a region whose acronym begins with the word 'autonomous' making the proposed postponement and subsequent appointments of OIC's an irony if not an outright affront to what is core to the charter itself."

"It is the 'autonomy' status of that region that we must give due respect to in our deliberations regarding the elections scheduled for August of this year," Senator Bongbong added.

Earlier, Marcos warned that the plan of government to postpone the August elections in the ARMM and to appoint OICs who shall sit in the meantime until the synchronized elections in 2013, is very hard to understand by the Filipino people and seems to have complicated things for them.

He said that the Palace had last year just rejected calls for the postponement of the barangay elections in the view that barangay officials had to have a fresh mandate from the people. Thus, in the same vein, it was logical that ARMM elections should also be allowed to proceed so that the brothers and sisters in ARMM could freely choose their leaders.

"Appointing officials who are supposed to be elected will violate the principle of the mandate of public officials. This will cause a great deal of confusion and might deteriorate into a complete political chaos in the ARMM since local officials have told me that they would not recognize officials who were just appointed," he said.

Marcos also believed that, "the best way to cleanse political mess is election-an honest, straightforward and clean election. As long as we have that, then we can be guaranteed that those who will sit in power shall in fact have been chosen by their own constituency."

The ARMM election is originally scheduled on August 8 of this year. Areas included in the ARMM are Basilan, Lanao del Sur, Maguindanao, Sulu, Tawi-Tawi and Marawi City.

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