Monday, September 19, 2011

Despite TRO, ARMM screening process resumes in Zamboanga City

A girl applauds as if she understands the agenda of candidates for the ARMM governor and regional vice governor during a government forum Monday, September 19, 2011 in Zamboanga City. And a senior leader and former spokesman of the Moro Islamic Liberation Front, Eid Kabalu, who is eyeing the regional vice governor, gestures as he enumerates his agenda during the forum. Amir Mawalil, of the Young Moro Professional Network, also asks a candidate about his agenda while Sulu Governor Sakur Tan listens during the question and answer portion at the forum. (Mindanao Examiner Photo)

ZAMBOANGA CITY, Philippines (Mindanao Examiner / Sept. 19, 2011) – Manila has resumed Monday its public forum in Zamboanga City on the candidates’ agenda for officers-in-charge in the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM).

Interior Secretary Jesse Robredo and Sulu Governor Sakur Tan led the government panel in the forum held at the Unibersidad de Zamboanga. A few hundred people attended the forum.

Robredo said they will continue with the selection process on who would be appointed ARMM governor and vice governor, and two dozen members of the regional legislative assembly, despite a temporary restraining order by the Supreme Court.

The order stopped the implementation of Republic Act 10153 - the law that deferred this year’s ARMM elections and synchronize it on national elections in 2013, and for Aquino to appoint officers-in-charge until new elections are held.

Robredo said they have seven names on the list for the regional governor - Ali Sanchez, Saidamen Pangarungan, Lanto Makabangkit, Norma Sharief, Dimas Pundato, Ismael Mangudadatu, and Mujiv Hataman, a known political supporter of Aquino.

Mangudadatu, who earlier said that he was nominated by three of four provincial governors in the autonomous region as acting ARMM governor, has backed out after President Benigno Aquino insisted that those who would be chosen will be barred from running in the 2013 national and ARMM elections.

Robredo said the screening panel will select its recommendation and submit the list to Aquino so he can approve it.

But the Supreme Court must have to decide whether to pursue elections in ARMM since the term of office of the incumbent officials is until September 30. Robredo said ARMM officials must step down and allow Aquino appointees to serve until 2013.

“I believe that this is just a temporary setback in our effort to carry out dramatic reforms in the region,” he said.

Tan said he and the other governors are all out in supporting Aquino’s reform program in the ARMM. “We believe in President Aquino’s wisdom and what he is doing is truly needed in the ARMM. We need reforms and we are behind President Aquino,” he said.

Robredo said the President will announce his choice for the acting ARMM governor and vice governor on October 1.

The government has received close to a hundred nominations and applications for the top post, but Robredo said those aspiring to become the acting governor must introduce reforms set by Aquino. (Mindanao Examiner)

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