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Home Columns Sen. Aquilino Q. Pimentel, Jr. Renewed War Looms after Collapse of RP Gov’t-MILF Peace Talks. Will ARMM Elections Be Postponed?
Renewed War Looms after Collapse of RP Gov’t-MILF Peace Talks. Will ARMM Elections Be Postponed? PDF Print E-mail
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Columns - This Week With Nene Pimentel
Saturday, 26 July 2008 22:21

Senate Minority Leader Aquilino Q. Pimentel, Jr. (PDP-Laban) today said there is no more reason for Malacañang to press for the postponement of the August 11, 2008, elections in the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM) after the last round of peace talks between the government and Moro Islamic Liberation Front in Kuala Lumpur broke down.

 

Congress has been requested by President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo to defer the ARMM polls to a still undetermined date supposedly to remove a stumbling block to the peace negotiation as it reaches the final stage. But the July 25 informal talks collapsed after the MILF negotiators walked out in protest over the government turnaround on an earlier agreement on the issue of ancestral domain.

 

Senator Pimentel says President Arroyo made an erroneous proposition by using the ongoing peace process in Mindanao as a ground for asking Congress to pass a law to postpone the ARMM elections.

“With the reported collapse of the Kuala Lumpur talks, which Malacañang has not denied, there is no more reason to postpone the elections,” he said.

 

He said he has received complaints from officials of the ARMM that the regional government has already incurred huge expenses on the preparation for the elections. This is apart from the funds spent by the Commission on Elections (COMELEC) for the acquisition of automated voting machines and electronic transmission facilities, training for personnel who will man the computerized election system, public-information campaign and purchase of election supplies and paraphernalia.

 

Mr. Pimentel said the postponement will also be unfair to the candidates for various positions in the ARMM since they have already spent a lot of money for their election campaign.

 

Senator Pimentel says the Arroyo Administration is indecisive, confused, or worse, it does not know what it really wants. The final solution to the Moro secessionist wars is to create a Bangsa Moro FederalState within a Federal RP He said the deferment of the polls will deprive the people of an opportunity to judge ARMM officials and will unduly reward them with an extension of their term. But at the same time, he said capable and deserving candidates will lose the chance to get elected and serve the people.

 

Noting an administration plan to hold the ARMM polls simultaneously with the 2010 national-and-local elections, Senator Pimentel said this will run counter to the intent of the law on Automated Election System that was enacted by Congress last year.

 

The AES law specifically provides for the holding of automated elections in pilot areas before the 2010 polls. In effect, he said the automated ARMM elections will serve as dry-run for the automated 2010 elections.

 

“Now, if you will postpone the ARMM elections, how can you test the computerized election system? How can you say that it is accurate and reliable if you do not put it to a test? The ARMM elections are the only remaining elections before the 2010 elections,” Senator Pimentel said.

 

The senator said he expected the collapse of the peace talks as a result of the government’s decision to backtrack from an accord on ancestral domain it had earlier hammered out with the MILF. He said this showed the government is indecisive, confused, or worse, it does not know what it really wants. The final solution to the Moro secessionist wars is to create a Bangsa Moro Federal State within the FederalRepublic of the Philippines. # # #

 



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Last Updated on Saturday, 26 July 2008 22:32
 

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