Mangudadatu, Cojuangco begin campaign with “leaders’ forum”

DATU ODIN SINSUAT, Maguindanao (MindaNews/25 June) – PDP-Laban candidates Datu Pax Mangudadatu and President Aquino’s aunt, Margarita “Tingting” Cojuangco, opened their campaign for governor and vice-governor in the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM)  with a  “leaders’ forum” in Cojuangco’s house here Friday night.

“The COMELEC hasn’t issued new guidelines, so it would not hurt me or Datu Pax to keep on going around so that those voters will get to meet both of us, so we will continue to come up with our platform of government,” she said.

Congress in early June passed a bill resetting the August 8 polls in the ARMM to synchronize it with the national mid-term polls on May 13, 2013 and to allow President Aquino to appoint officers in charge in the interim.

The President, however, has yet to sign the bill into law. He is expected to sign it on June 30, the day he marks his first full year in office.

When it is signed into law, Cojuangco said, “well, we still have other avenues to listen to us, because we believe that is most unconstitutional what has been happening here and the
people should have the autonomy and decide for the leaders would be. Anyway once that is decided by the people then the President has the supervisory powers to check.”

Cojuangco said they will go to the Supreme Court after the bill is signed into law.

The campaign period for the August 8 ARMM polls started on June 24. The Commission on Elections said it will stop preparations when the bill is signed into law.

Mangudadatu, who was celebrating his birthday in Sultan Kudarat province, was not able to proceed to Cojuangco’s house here. But earlier, Cojuangco was in Sultan Kudarat for the birthday party of Mangudadatu.

No campaign paraphernalia has been posted or distributed.  (Ferdinandh Cabrera/MindaNews)