(In response to PDI news article titled:   Palace says ARMM failed experiment

February 16, 2011, page A17

  1. The  President  is proposing  major reforms to address  causes of  rebellion and hopelessness in ARMM

Postponement   of elections is not the penultimate answer to address major reforms in ARMM. History  is testament  to the fact that  in a period of  21 years, there has been 8  election postponements  in ARMM  to suit  pressing political exigencies. What   is the guarantee that these reforms be implemented in   the next two years?

  1. Synchronize elections  for  the  “ sake of economy”

The COMELEC has already categorically stated that it has the needed budget of 1.8 B to undertake the ARMM polls. There is no need for another budget appropriation. If we really want to save our country’s economy we should have elections. If we want save our economy, we might as well proceed with ARMM elections and collect the revenue from non-performing bureaus, trudge the path of “daang matuwid” and cleanse the bureaus and agencies that have been recently implicated in massive corruption like the BIR, BOC, GOCC’s and the GFI’s. This is a better way of achieving economic efficiency in our government. We fulfill the mandate of our constitution and stop corruption.

  1. ARMM is a failed experiment in terms of the aspirations of the Filipino to give justice to our Muslim brothers. The history of ARMM is a failed substate.

If we say  ARMM  is   a failed  substate, it is tantamount  to saying that  the FORMER  PRESIDENT  CORAZON AQUINO whose administration  fought  for the genesis  of   autonomy  and democracy  in ARMM is  likewise a FAILURE.

If we want to put things back in order  in ARMM, then we should proceed with the elections to  install a new mandate elected by the people through a plebiscite to reflect  the true  will of the electorate. With  the promise  of  “daang matuwid” under the tutelage of our   President, we are optimistic that this time, a new mandate  in ARMM  will better its present state  of governance, under  HIS  SUPERVISION  as  mandated  by  RA  9054(  Expanded ARMM Organic  Act).

  1. How do you appoint officers in charge who have “clean slate” to oversee reforms in ARMM and by whom?

Without  prejudice to the  question of  legality   in respect  to the appointment of  interim officers  in ARRM, “ who will compose the  proposed caretaker government  of   ARMM? “, and what are  their  qualifications?

It is also noteworthy to mention that the President has the power of GENERAL SUPERVISION in ARMM and over its ELECTED OFFICIALS. He can see to it that all laws be faithfully executed therein. So, why the need to appoint a caretaker government. Setting up a caretaker government  is obviously a political move  and  would only subject   the Office of the   President to a possible judicial controversy, which is the least  that  we can afford  these days  given the  plethora   of  national concerns  the President must focus on instead.

Appointment of  OIC’s   will further weaken the autonomy of ARMM. Elections are essential to strengthen the autonomy of ARMM and give it its rightful self-determination. The government should instead focus  its  role  in ensuring that  ARMM elections  are conducted fairly, accurately  and peacefully.

  1. Elections in ARMM are determined by traditional warlord and politicians who use, goons, guns and gold to cling to power.  ARMM do not reflect the true will of the people

Is this not common in other  political territories of  the Philippines as well? This reasoning   deserves scant  consideration.

If  ARMM   did  not  reflect  the true will  of the people, then why  did  P-noy win  even  without  the help  of  traditional  politicians  there?

No  matter  how  imperfect  ARMM is, we are bound to protect it.  We  can  make  the institution   work , without  compromising the people’s  right  to suffrage.

  1. No real election and democracy if  questions of massive electoral fraud  and corruption are  still prevalent

For the first time in 21 years, an opposition president, in the person of  Our   Excellency,  emerged in the ARMM despite claims that ARMM is a political bailiwick of the administration. What does this suggest?   That  the people of ARMM have spoken. That finally, they are freed from the shackles of ignorance and indifference.

So why are we insinuating electoral fraud in the ARMM now? If the government insists that  ARMM  elections were conducted unfairly, inaccurately and chaotically, then why did P-noy win in last  May 2010 polls,  with a total  votes  of  324,689 in the five (5) provinces of ARMM without the help of known politicians?

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