Salic Ibrahim, Lowell Macabangon, Tom Villarin and Dr. Darvin Rasul III led the groups Reform ARMM Now and SIMCard as well as other groups in asking lawmakers to instead synchronize the regional elections with the 2013 midterm elections.
Villarin said synchronization follows the constitutional mandate of synchronized midterm and local elections. It will also give the Aquino administration time to institute reforms that will promote peace in Mindanao.
Villarin also lashed out at lawmakers opposed to the postponement, whom he alleged as people opposed to reform and identified with former president and now Pampanga 2nd District Rep. Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo.
He dispelled fears the Aquino administration will only appoint its protégés as officers in charge of the ARMM should the synchronization lead to the postponement of the 2011 regional elections.
Villarin said postponement alone would have legal problems, since postponement would not be bound to any timetable and would really require amendments to the ARMM Law.
Datu Lowell Macabangon said consultations in Mindanao showed support for the synchronization. He also criticized lawmakers whom he said have conflicts of interest in opposing the bill.
Macabangon blamed ARMM politicians for standing in the way of progress for the last 21 years and said some lawmakers stood to gain from the non-postponement of the elections.
Lanao del Sur. Rep Pangalian Balindong’s nephew is the current acting ARMM Governor, Ansarrudin Adiong.
He said Maguindanao Rep. Simeon Datumanong maybe standing in the way of cleansing the voters list of Maguindanao.
He said ALIF party-list Rep. Ahmad Tomawis has a brother who is the current executive director of the Southern Philippines Development Authority.
Rasul said the ARMM regional assembly alone will not be empowered enough to reset their own elections, hence the need for an act of Congress. All these, he said, is in the name of reforming and cleaning up the bureaucracy. #