ARMM execs assure smooth turnover of power

KORONADAL CITY (MindaNews/25 October) — Officials in the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM) would peacefully turn over their posts to the appointees of President Benigno Aquino III, ARMM acting Gov. Ansaruddin Adiong said.

In a statement released Monday, Adiong assured anew a peaceful transition at the ARMM once the appointees are ready to take over.

“We reiterate our commitment for smooth transition characterized by our turnover of all assets and properties in the ARMM bureaucracy, particularly the Office of the Regional Governor or ORG, intact to whoever the President would appoint to succeed us,” he said.

The Supreme Court announced last week that the justices voted 8-7 in favor of the constitutionality of Republic Act 10153.

On September 13, the High Tribunal issued a temporary restraining order against RA 10153, which synchronized the ARMM August 8 polls with the 2013 midterm elections.

It also gave Aquino the power to appoint officers-in-charge replacing the incumbent officials whose three-year terms of office expired last September 30.

Adiong, his cabinet members, and the other regional elected officials have been functioning on a holdover capacity since then.

The SC has reportedly given a 15-day period for the filing of a motion for reconsideration on its latest ruling.

Until a final decision is rendered, Adiong said it would be “business as usual for incumbent ARMM officials to continue delivering trailblazing services.”

Adiong assumed the top regional post in December 2009 after the suspension and arrest of then governor Zaldy  Ampatuan due to his alleged involvement in the November 23, 2009 massacre.

Fifty-eight people, including 32 media workers (one was not recovered) were killed in that brutal manslaughter in sitio Masalay, barangay Salman in Ampatuan, Maguindanao.

Naguib Sinarimbo, ARMM executive secretary, has also assured that Adiong and the other elected ARMM officials will smoothly turn over the reins of power if RA 10153 is declared constitutional by the SC.

President Aquino signed RA 10153 last June 30.

In his State of the Nation Address on July 25, Aquino said that allowing the ARMM elections to proceed on August 8 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.”

On October 18, Aquino issued a statement thanking the SC for upholding “our effort to break the cycle of impunity, corruption and poverty in the ARMM.”

The Aquino administration supported the bill to synchronize the ARMM elections with national elections in an effort to end the vicious cycle of abnormal elections where the mandate of the people is subverted by means of the command vote wielded by local political families, he said.

“We believe that if local political families must attend to their election at the same time that national elections are being conducted, they will be less able to utilize command votes in favor of political patrons to subvert the national will,” Aquino said. (Bong Sarmiento/MindaNews)