Press Release
March 19, 2011

Sen. Bongbong: Autonomous means, "Malacanang keep away."

Senator Ferdinand "Bongbong" R. Marcos, Jr., chairman of the Senate committee on local government, today warned Malacanang officials to keep away from Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM) politics and give due respect to the region's autonomous status.

"The Palace's insistence on the postponement of elections in the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao ARMM region and subsequent appointment of Officers-in-charge (OIC's) to replace elected officials in the interim goes against the very core of the charter that, being, autonomy. No amount of legalese will change the spirit of the laws that govern the ARMM charter," he said.

Marcos added that the Palace would do well to adhere to the essence of the word "autonomous" and display sincerity to our Muslim brothers; that would signal the administration's desire for peace and progress for the people of ARMM based on democratic self-rule that is best expressed in the holding of elections as scheduled.

"If the palace will find the strongest resistance were they to attempt to appoint officials in another province, it adds irony that they are doing this in a region that has an autonomous character as mandated by law," Marcos explained.

Earlier, the Senator urged Malacanang officials contemplating the deferment of the August 2011 elections in the ARMM to clearly heed and listen to the true sentiments of the people of ARMM on the proposed postponement of the scheduled elections this year and appointing OIC's in the interim.

Marcos said "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."

He emphasized that 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 political chaos in the ARMM since local officials have told me that they would not recognize officials who were just appointed."

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