SOMEONE ELSE’S WINDOWS: What’s a Cojuangco doing in the ARMM?

MALAYBALAY CITY (MindaNews/25 May) – That Pax Mangudadatu, a former governor and former congressman of Sultan Kudarat, is eyeing the governorship of the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM) is no shocking news. While Sultan Kudarat is not part of the ARMM, he would be justified in transferring his residence as a voter to any part of the region as a full-blooded Moro. But Margarita “Tingting” Cojuangco running for vice governor? That floored me, really. I checked Google Earth to make sure Tarlac is still in Luzon.

By any stretch of the imagination I could not find the least stupid reason why a Manila-bred socialite should dip her well-manicured fingers into ARMM politics. It is much easier for a wolf to hide beneath a sheep’s clothing than for the President’s aunt to put on borrowed identity as a Moro, or at least one who avers genuine concern for the plight of a neglected flock.

Sure, Ms Cojuangco may have been able to have her name listed as an ARMM voter. But that doesn’t conceal the identity of the proverbial wolf; it only makes its true color seen clearly under the disguise with ample help from the Commission on Elections. Manny Pacquiao at least has a Jinkee to escort him from General Santos City, where he could not dethrone the Antoninos, to neighboring Sarangani en route to beating the Chiongbians.

Tell Ms Cojuangco to wear a hundred malongs and learn the steps of any Muslim dance and it would not change a thing. Make her a Muslim princess for whatever sense it may make and it would only look the stupid frivolous. Or let her whole family move to the ARMM, stay there most days of the year and experience life away from the cloistered circles of Manila’s best dressed, and her candidacy would still leave a bad taste in the region’s political mouth.

There is no law that prevents Ms Cojuangco from running for a political post in the ARMM? Ah, we don’t need hairsplitting arguments to come to the commonsense conclusion that the creation of the region was meant to give the Moro people a bigger voice in governance through the principle of self-determination which, by the way, has remained elusive to this day.

Maybe there is no single provision in the organic act creating the ARMM that explicitly bars her from pursuing her dream of “serving” the Muslims in Mindanao as an elected official of the region. But the law has to be understood in its proper historical context, its interpretation not subservient to the interests of the powers that be or people close to them.  And serve them what?

Mangudadatu may have made a costly blunder by accommodating Ms Cojuangco as his running mate even if she is hypothetically close to Malacañang by virtue of her affinity to the President.

So, what will President Aquino say to her intruder of an aunt? May the Porsche be with you? (MindaViews is the opinion section of MindaNews. H. Marcos C. Mordeno can be reached at [email protected])

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