ARMM election postponement: important dates

COTABATO CITY (MindaNews/29 September) — At noon tomorrow (September 30), the term of duly elected officials in the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao shall have ended, as mandated by Republic Act 9054 or the Expanded ARMM Organic Act.

The Supreme Court recently issued a Temporary Restraining Order that prevents President Benigno Aquino III from appointing ARMM officers-in-charge (OICs) with the passage of the law postponing the August 8 ARMM elections.

As of today, the TRO remains in effect as the SC stood pat on its decision.

But for purposes of following the turn of events, here’s the brief important timelines related to the matter since early 2011:

February 28
Malacanang presented the ARMM polls postponement as one of its key priority bills at the Legislative Executive Development Advisory Council (LEDAC), the first under the Aquino administration.

March 22
The House of Representatives approved House Bill 4146 by a vote of 191-47. Maguindanao Rep. Bai Sandra Sema authored the bill.

May 19
Filing of the certificates of candidacy started despite Malacanang’s push to cancel the August 8 polls;

June 6
By a vote of 13-7, the Senate passed Senate Bill 2756, which seeks to postpone the August 8, 2011 elections in the ARMM and synchronize it with the May 13, 2013 national mid-term polls.

June 24
The campaign period for the ARMM elections kicked off. Former Sultan Kudarat governor Pax Mangudadatu and Margarita “Ting-Ting” Cojuangco, an aunt of President Aquino, running under the Partido Demokratiko Pilipino, were among the prominent candidates who waged a campaign despite the moves to postpone the elections.

June 30
President Aquino signed Republic 10153, the law that synchronized the scheduled August 8, 2001 ARMM polls with the mid-term polls in 2013 and authorized the President to name OICs that would serve until June 30, 2013.

July 25
In his State of the Nation Address, Aquino said that allowing the elections to proceed next month as scheduled by law “would have perpetuated the endless cycle of electoral fraud and official abuse that has led the ARMM to become one of the poorest regions in the country.”

July 28
President Aquino signed Executive Order 51 that created the OIC Screening Committee which is composed of five members: the Secretary of the Department of Interior and Local Governments, the Secretary of National Defense, Political Adviser of the Office of the Political Adviser, 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.”

September 1
The DILG reported there were 341 applicants, with 51 vying for the post of ARMM governor, 17 for vice governor and 272 for membership in the Regional Legislative Assembly.

September 12
The DILG named the shortlisted applicants. There were six for OIC Governor– Mujiv Hataman of Basilan; Sanchez Ali, Saidamen Pangarungan, Dimas Pundato and Norma Sharief of Lanao del Sur; and  Maguindanao Governor Esmael Mangudadatu.

Six were also shortlisted for OIC Vice Governor—Hatimil Hassan of Basilan; Bobby Datimbang, Bainon Karon and Eid Kabalu of Maguindanao; Dimapuno Datu-Ramos  and ARMM Acting Regional Governor Adiong.

September 13
The SC, voting 8-4, issued a TRO against the implementation of the law synchronizing the August 8, 2011 elections in the ARMM with the May 13, 2013 polls and allowing President Aquino to appoint OIC to serve in the interim.

Two bombs rocked Cotabato City earlier in the day. It was the schedule of the public forum for the shortlisted OIC applicants for various ARMM positions. (Source: MindaNews archives/research)

Should the SC decision stays until September 30, Acting ARMM Gov. Ansaruddin Adiong, Acting Vice Gov. Rejie Sahali-Generale and the 24 members of the Regional Legislative Assembly will continue on a holdover capacity.

Adiong, the ARMM vice governor, assumed as acting regional governor following the arrest late in 2009 of Zaldy Ampatuan, who was implicated in the November 23, 2009 massacre of 58 people, 32 of them media workers, which is now infamously known as the Ampatuan massacre.

Ampatuan was governor of ARMM from 2005 until his arrest. He won his second term in the 2008 regional elections.

The other ARMM governors were Zacaria A. Candao (1990-1993), Lininding P. Pangandaman (1993-1996), Nur P. Misuari (1996-2001), and Parouk S. Hussin (2001-2005). (Bong Sarmiento/MindaNews)