Aquino to appoint experts, technocrats as ARMM officers-in-charge—officials
COTABATO City, Philippines—Malacañang officials have allayed fears of local executives in the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao about the kind of officers-in-charge President Aquino would finally appoint during the two-year suspension of elections in the region to give way to political and institutional reforms.
In Saturday’s meeting here with ARMM officials, led by the ARMM Executive Secretary Naguib Sinarimbo, Peace Process Secretary Teresita Deles and Social Welfare Secretary Corazon Soliman assured the residents that President Aquino would name proven technocrats or experts in various development fields rather than politicians.
Maguindanao mayors and Gov. Ismael Mangudadatu asked whether traditional political leaders or those who already served ARMM in the past would be among the probable presidential appointees after the lapse of the short-lived term (2010-2011) of Acting Regional Gov. Ansaruddin Adiong shall have ended on September 30.
Deles and Soliman denied reports that erstwhile ARMM Governor Nur Misuari would return to the post as a bargaining chip to a strong demand by the Moro National Liberation Front, an armed rebel group that he founded shortly after the declaration of martial law in 1972.
Deles said Misuari and other would-be contenders for the OIC posts of ARMM governor, vice governor and 24 members of the Regional Legislative Assembly could submit their names to the selection committee composed of members from both chambers of Congress and Malacañang.
The Supreme Court has yet to rule on the constitutionality of Republic Act 10153 – the basis for Aquino appointing ARMM officers-in-charge – that would synchronize this year’s ARMM polls with the 2013 midterm elections.
Mangudadatu said their questions about Misuari were an offshoot of the June 22-23 Organization of the Islamic Conference-brokered talks held in Indonesia where the Philippine government and the MNLF agreed to develop “a workable partnership at appropriate levels” to pursue reforms in the region.
Deles explained that the government and the MNLF agreed on a partnership because of the opportunity for reforming the ARMM, but stressed that “partnerships have many levels and it is not only with the OIC Governor but also with the Regional Legislative Assembly members who will be appointed.”
In appointing the OIC, Deles said a selection process would be followed.
“The OIC who will be chosen should have the capability to implement the roadmap for reforms,” said Deles, adding that “if Misuari wants to be the OIC, he should formally submit an application so that he will be included in the selection process just like the other candidates.”
“President Aquino is clear on what he wants for an OIC — one who will perform reforms, not politics. The President wants to make a difference in the ARMM,” Deles said.