‘Nothing will stop ARMM polls’By Philip C. Tubeza
Philippine Daily Inquirer
MANILA, Philippines—Next year’s elections in the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM) will push through despite the call of a ranking Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) official to have them deferred, a government official said on Saturday.
Rosalie Romero, Assistant Secretary of the Office of the Presidential Adviser on the Peace Process, said the May elections scheduled along with the nationwide midterm polls would proceed despite the call of Ghadzali Jaafar, MILF political affairs chief, to have them postponed until after the peace talks between the government and the MILF shall have been concluded.
“There will be no postponement. As far as we know, it was just Ghadzali Jaafar and not the MILF which issued the call,” Romero said.
She said the government peace panel negotiating with the MILF had not received a formal request to defer the elections.
“So the elections would push through,” she said.
Jaafar had suggested the elections be postponed to save the government money. He said that if the elections were to proceed, the government would have to shell money again once a peace deal was signed and a new autonomous political entity to replace the ARMM was formed.
Romero had earlier pointed out the ARMM polls had already been postponed once—in August 2011. She said President Aquino had promised Congress the elections would proceed in May next year.
“(Mr. Aquino) used his name to persuade our lawmakers to postpone the ARMM elections to 2013. He will not go back on his word and now say that the elections would no longer push through,” Romero said.
“Whatever happens, with or without an agreement, the elections will push through,” she added.