DAVAO CITY (MindaNews/14 August) – Persons chosen to serve as officers in charge of the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM) cannot run for any post in the ARMM elections in 2013, Local Governments Secretary Jesse Robredo reiterated, as the number of applicants and nominees for OIC Governor alone has reached around 40.
“Inviolability of non-eligibility of an OIC to run as candidate in the May 2013 election,” is among the five principles guiding the process of application or nomination, screening, selection, and endorsement, Robredo said.
Robredo, head of the Screening Committee for the selection of ARMM OICs told MindaNews the list of applicants and nominees for OIC governor, OIC Vice Governor and 24 OIC legislators will be posted on the website of the Department of Interior and Local Governments (DILG) on “Monday or Tuesday.”
The Screening Committee, created under Executive Order 51 signed on July 28, is composed of Robredo, Defense Secretary Voltaire Gazmin, Presidential Adviser on Polotical Affairs Ronald Llamas, one civil society representative to be appointed by the President, and one representative “to be nominated from among, and by the five governors and one city mayor of ARMM.”
The ARMM governors’ representative in Sulu Governor Sakur Tan while the NGO representative has yet to be named.Last week, Presidential Adviser on the Peace Process Teresita Quintos-Deles said a short list had been submitted to the President’s office.
The Committee has until September 20 to submit to the President its shortlist of nominees for the ARMM OICs who will assume their posts when the three-year term of the incumbent officials ends noon of September 30.
RA10153 passed on June 6 and signed into law on June 30, moved the August 8, 2011 elections to May 13, 2013 and allowed the President to appoint OICs to serve until June 30, 2013. Several petitions have been filed before the Supreme Court contesting the constitutionality of the law.
Robredo cited five principles guiding the process of application or nomination, screening, selection, and endorsement: equitable representation of the major ethno-linguistic groups, with respect to OICs of the Regional Legislative Assembly; equitable sectoral representation within a major ethno-linguistic group; inviolability of transparency in the whole process; deference to constitutional-legal provisions on qualifications and disqualifications is fundamental; and inviolability of non-eligibility of an OIC to run as a candidate in the May 2013 election.
Robredo said the ARMM OICs cannot run for elective posts in the ARMM polls in 2013.
“Kung tatakbo sila (sa May 2013) huwag na silang mag-apply” (If they run in 2013, they shouldn’t apply (for OIC), he said.
Maguindanao Governor Esmael Mangudadatu last week said local chief executives of the ARMM’s five provinces – Maguindanao, Sulu, Tawi-tawi, Lanao del Sur and Basilan and the cities of Marawi and Isabela — nominated him for the post of OIC Governor.
Robredo said the list of applicants and nominees for governor is now around 40.
He said OIC hopefuls will be subjected to public scrutiny. Shortlisted nominees for governor and vice governor will appear in forums that will be aired live on radio and television while nominees for the Regional Legislative Assembly will have their own forums in their respective districts.
“We want this process as transparent as can be,” he said.
The RLA is composed of three representatives each from each congressional district. There are eight congressional districts in the ARMM provinces of Basilan, Sulu, Tawi-tawi, Maguindanao and Lanao del Sur.
Robredo said nominees for OICs will come from civil society, political families, Moro National Liberation Front, Moro Islamic Liberation Front. “Cross section nilang lahat,” he said.
The MNLF, which signed a peace agreement with the government on September 2, 1996 and is currently reviewing the implementation of the agreement, has agreed to take part in the “ARMM governance reforms” of the Aquino administration, according to an agreement it signed with the government in Solo City, Indonesia in June.
The agreement did not mention who or how many MNLF members will be appointed as OICs in the 21-year old ARMM, an institution that was governed by the MNLF from September 30, 1996 to September 30, 2005 under Governors Nur Misuari and Parouk Hussein.
According to the June 22 report of the Technical Committee of the Ad Hoc High-Level Group of the Philippine government, MNLF and the Organization of the Islamic Conference (OIC), the parties, “recognizing the possibilities for reform in light of the postponement of the ARMM elections believe that they should avail of the opportunity and use the period to work together with concerned stakeholders to capacitate the ARMM as a complementary mechanism for the full implementation of the 1996 GRP-OIC-MNLF Final Peace Agreement (FPA).”
“The GPH considers the MNLF as the principal partner to effect” the reforms “in the context of the full implementation of the 1996 FPA,” the report, a copy of which was obtained by MindaNews, said.
The MILF has repeatedly said the ARMM is not the solution as it proposes a Bangsamoro sub-state. Eid Kabalu, the MILF spokesperson who was recently fired by the MILF Central Committee, has applied for OIC Governor in the ARMM.
Under Section 4 of EO 51, the Screening Committee, within 30 days from convening but not later than 10 days before September 30, shall submit to the President, “after due consultations with the Senate President and the Speaker of the House of Representatives, a shortlist of at least three nominees to every vacancy in the elective positions in the ARMM Regional Government.”
Section 5 of EO 51 provides under “Qualifications of Applicant” that no person shall be recommended as OIC unless he/she possesses the qualifications required by RA 6734 and RA 9054, the ARMM charter. The same section provides that “ in the determination of the qualifications of the applicant, the Committee shall consider educational preparation, experience, performance, accomplishments, reputation for honesty, integrity, incorruptibility, irreproachable conduct, and fidelity to sound moral and ethical standards.”
The OIC Governor and OIC Vice Governor must be a natural-born citizen of the Philippines, a registered voter of the autonomous region, able to read and write, at least 35 years old, and a resident of the autonomous region for at least one year immediately preceding the appointment. (under RA 9054, “at least one year immediately preceding the election.”)
The OIC Assemblyman must be a natural-born citizen of the Philippines, at least 21 years old, able to read and write, a registered voter of the district in which he or she shall represent and a resident there for a period of not less than five years immediately preceding the day of appointment (under RA 9054, “five years immediately preceding the day of the election.” ) [Carolyn O. Arguillas/MindaNews]