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The Manila Times - Marcos stood fast against suspending elections, naming OICs

In The News
7 August 2011

By Jaime Pilapil | The Manila Times

The-Manila-Times-NetSenator Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr. is ready to accept whatever will be the ruling of the Supreme Court whether or not it will declare unconstitutional the law that postponed the Aug. 8 Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao elections to 2013 synchronized national and local polls.

“I have already accepted it after the Senate voted 13-7 in favor of the postponement. The ball is now with the High Court. Whatever the decision of the SC, so be it,” Marcos told The Manila Times.

In fact, Marcos has already archived the bill pushing for the postponement of ARMM election but he himself revived it after President Benigno Simeon Aquino certified the bill as urgent.

“It needs at least five senators to move for the revival of a bill from the archive. The moment it was revived, the committee issued a resolution for deliberations,” Marcos said.

Marcos went to explain that no less than the findings of the oversight committee in the hearings held in Marawi City and Cotabato City were included in the committee report after Malacanang issued a statement that it wanted the bill passed and approved before the SONA.

Marcos, chairman of Congressional Oversight Committee on ARMM Organic Act, was opposed to the postponement of the Aug. 8 ARMM polls.

His position was validated by the Filipino Muslims or the Moro people during a series of hearings in ARMM cities.

The Senate passed and approved in early June the law postponing what should have been tomorrow’s election. Son after, The House of representatives adopted it, paving the way for President Benigno Simeon Aquino 3rd to sign Republic Act 10153 into a new law that also allows the President to appoint officers-in-charge.

President Aquino’s main reasons for postponing the elections are basically linked to his program to stamp out corruption.

Not holding elections August 8 would leave the ARMM regional government and the ARMM provincial government positions vacant. This would allow him to appoint as officers in charge (OICs) men and women whom he and his aides believe are qualified people of integrity who are commited to the strict anti-corruption policy. He would then make sure that these OICs introduce the reforms needed to turn the ARMM from what he calls a failed experiment into a great success.

The 13 senators who voted in favor of postponing the elections were Senate President Juan Ponce-Enrile, Franklin Drilon, Ralph Recto, Teofisto Guingona III, Francis “Kiko Pangilinan, Miriam Defensor-Santiago, Panfilo “Ping” Lacson, Gringo Honasan, Vicente “Tito” Sotto III, Jose “Jinggoy” Estrada, Pia Cayetano, Sonny Trillanes IV and Lito Lapid.

The seven senators who opposed the postponement were Francis “Chiz” Escudero, Serge Osmeña, Ferdinand “Bong-Bong” Marcos Jr., Juan Miguel Zubiri, Edgardo Angara, Joker Arroyo and Ramon “Bong” Revilla Jr.

Escudero and Osmeña are allied with the administration but chose to do what they think is right—which is to let the election take its course.

Three senators—Senate Minority Leader Alan Cayetano, Manny Villar and Loren Legarda—were absent during the voting.

Among those who opposed the postponement of ARMM elections former Tawi-Tawi Gov. Almarim Centi Tillah, professor Datu Casan Conding Cana and PDP-Laban president Aquilino “Koko” Pimentel III who asked the high court to declare the act “unconstitutional and invalid” and stop Malacañang from using government funds to implement it.

Election lawyer Romulo Macalintal filed his own plea seeking a temporary restraining order against RA 10153.

Although his stand was rejected by the majority of his fellow senators, the way Senator Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos stood his ground gained him many admirers.

He presented, eloquently and lucidly, before his colleagues— and the nation—the six key findings of the Senate Committee on Local Government which he heads.

He ended his presentation with these words:

“Filipino Muslims have already gained the exercise of their rights to suffrage and self-determination. They have already achieved, at least, partially their autonomy. We must not reverse that process. We must not accompany the light of the ‘Arab Spring’ of 2011 with the darkness of a cold winter for ARMM.”