Palace says Hataman need not resignBy TJ Burgonio
Philippine Daily Inquirer
MANILA, Philippines–Malacañang on Saturday maintained that Mujiv Hataman, acting governor of the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao, could stay in his job even after filing his certificate of candidacy for governor.
While President Benigno Aquino III appointed him, Hataman was holding an elective post as officer-in-charge governor of ARMM, Undersecretary Abigail Valte, deputy presidential spokesperson, said in a radio interview.
And under the Fair Elections Act and Omnibus Election Code only individuals holding appointive posts are deemed automatically resigned after filing their CoCs, Valte said.
“The position that they are holding is an elective position, even if they were appointed by the President by virtue of the law on the ARMM postponement of elections so these could be synchronized [with the 2013 elections]. That supervening event does not change the character of position that they are holding,” she said, referring to the governor down to members of the legislative assembly.
And since they’re holding elective posts, they have a “mandate and they need to finish this,” she added.
Election lawyer Romeo Macalintal said that officers-in-charge appointed by the President to executive and legislative posts in the ARMM should be considered resigned upon filing of their COCs.
The President appointed Hataman OIC governor of the ARMM in December 2011 after the region’s elections set in August of the same year were reset and synchronized with the 2013 elections through Republic Act 10153.
Apart from Hataman, the President appointed a vice governor and 27 members of the Regional Assembly.
Meanwhile, Hataman said the President himself prodded him to run for governor in the ARMM to continue the reforms that the administration initiated.
“You need to run to continue the reforms. There is clamor for you to run,” Hataman quoted the President as telling him during their meeting in Malacañang on September 29, the same day Interior Secretary Manuel Roxas II took his oath. “I told him: Who am I to refuse you?”
Hataman agreed but only after consulting his wife and children, who expected him to serve in the ARMM until next year’s midterm elections. He filed his COC last Friday.
The President appointed Hataman as OIC governor to clean up the ARMM, which for years had bred political conflict and warlordism that reared its ugly head in the November 2009 massacre of 58 people in Maguindanao.
Hataman welcomed the prospects of facing former ARMM governor and Moro National Liberation Front chairman Nur Misuari and former Sultan Kudarat Representative Pax Mangudadatu in next year’s gubernatorial race.
“I’m happy they’re running for election so there will be choices of who is the best alternative to institute reforms,” Hataman said by phone, pointing out that Misuari’s candidacy was proof of MNLF’s recognition of ARMM’s affairs.