COTABATO CITY (MindaNews/28 Sept) – Typhoon “Pedring” (international name: Nesat) forced officials of the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM) to cancel what could have been their last regular media conference and a scheduled “recognition night” Wednesday if not for the recent Supreme Court decision not in favor of Malacañang.
Elected ARMM officials headed by Acting ARMM Gov. Ansaruddin Alonto Adiong would have to step down from power by September 30 noon if the Supreme Court did not issue a TRO against Republic Act 10153.
The law, which President Benigno C. Aquino III signed last June 30, synchronizes the scheduled August 8, 2011 ARMM polls with the mid-term polls in 2013 and authorized the President to name OICs after the expiration of the three-year term of office of ARMM officials on September 30.
On September 13, the High Tribunal announced that the justices voted 8-4 against the implementation of RA 10153, at the same time that the Department of the Interior and Local Government-led Screening Committee was interviewing applicants and nominees shortlisted for OIC governor and OIC vice governor in a public forum here.
Rosslaini Alonto-Sinarimbo, assistant secretary in the office of the ARMM governor, said they decided to cancel the activities scheduled for today because of the typhoon that battered Metro Manila and the rest of Luzon.
“Just to be sure, we moved the event to Thursday,” she said.
Sinarimbo said that several top regional officials, including her husband ARMM executive secretary Naguib Sinarimbo, were stranded in Manila due to the bad weather.
ARMM officials were in Manila to attend the Senate hearing for their proposed budget.
She said they were able to get a flight but via Davao City arriving evening Wednesday.
ARMM officials earlier scheduled Wednesday as “recognition day for its development partners in helping the 20-month Adiong administration carry out its thrust.”
Those that will be given recognition include foreign donors, non-government organizations and the media.
Among those who have already confirmed attendance were the ambassadors of Brunei and Indonesia.
With the high court’s TRO, Adiong and the rest of the elected regional officials will function in holdover capacities.
Sinarimbo said that Adiong, before the TRO issuance, was prepared to turn over on September 30 the reigns of power to the one appointed by the President.
No copy of the TRO has been uploaded to the Supreme Court website yet, nor any press statement related to the matter, as of Wednesday.
A September 22 report at www.gmanews.tv said that the Office of the Solicitor General has filed a 35-page motion for reconsideration against the TRO.
The OSG argued that allowing incumbent officials to retain their posts in holdover capacity goes against the 1987 Constitution, which limits to three years the term of a local official, according to the report.
As of Wednesday, or two days before the September 30 end of term for ARMM officials, there is no report as yet if what action the SC has taken on the reported motion for reconsideration. (Bong S. Sarmiento / MindaNews)