By Jonathan de la Cruz | The Daily Tribune
Sen. Bongbong Marcos is right. After all the administration’s justifications and maneuvering meant to postpone the scheduled Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM) elections in August, including the twisting of the constitutional provision on autonomy and the processes under the ARMM Organic Act as amended, P-Noy and his advisers have yet to make the case how such will really redound to “promoting reform and stability” in the area. Sure, there are talks and talks about the ARMM being a “failed experiment,” the dominating presence of warlords and political bosses, the threat of private armies, and so on and on, but nobody in the administration has really articulated how the postponement (Marcos would rather say cancellation which it is properly and legally) will bring about “reforms.” And, perhaps more importantly, what kind of reforms? Is the administration hoping that some people will believe its propaganda that in two years, the dominance of warlords and political bosses will be a thing of the past? Are they saying that the private armies will be dismantled and the hundreds of thousands of loose firearms confiscated and kept under lock and key? Are they saying that the ways and practices of politics in the ARMM will suddenly be any different from those in other parts of the country, that in two years the area will be freed from the 3Gs (guns, gold and goons) which has been the hallmark of every election since independence? If they believe that then we should all believe the tooth fairy.
On another point. Can P-Noy and his advisers provide the criteria in the appointment of officers-in-charge (OICs) which they intend to do once this cancellation is approved by Congress? Can they assure one and all that these people are better than those they claim to be warlords, political bosses and maintainers of private armies? Better still, can they honestly say that the OICs they have in mind are not themselves active members of the warlord class they have so contemptuously discharged as having brought the ARMM to the abyss? Can these guys be entrusted with the duty to transform the ARMM in two years, bring stability to the area and turn it around to be the platform for the “successful experiment” they claim they want the ARMM to be? Better still, can they define for us ordinary folks what the standards or parameters of a successful experiment are so that we can all judge whether in the two years they are asking the same shall have been achieved and therefore no new calls for cancellation when that time comes will be entertained? Please, boys and girls, let us know. Otherwise, these Palace factotums should just take this misplaced and misguided postponement brainstorm out of the way and let the residents of the ARMM decide on the fate of this constitutionally mandated undertaking called autonomy.