Aquino says synchronized ARMM elections will break cycle of impunity

PRESIDENT Benigno S. Aquino III expressed elation over the decision of the Supreme Court upholding the constitutionality of Republic Act 10153 or the law that synchronizes the Autonomous Region for Muslim Mindanao (ARMM) election to the 2013 polls.

“We thank the Supreme Court for upholding our effort to break the cycle of impunity, corruption and poverty in the ARMM,” the President in a statement read by Presidential Spokesman Edwin Lacierda in Malacanang on Tuesday.

“The Supreme Court decision gives us a great opportunity to correct these long-standing problems. It is an opportunity that we will not squander,” he added.

The President said his administration supported the bill that synchronizes the ARMM elections with national elections to stop the vicious cycle of abnormal elections being influenced by powerful political families.

If there is synchronized election, political dynasties couldn’t utilize command votes to subvert the national will, the President said.

Command voting has contributed to the cycle of impunity in the region, as demonstrated by the Maguindanao massacre, in which 57 people were allegedly killed by a local political family, he said.

The system also leads to massive corruption by public officials disabling the ability of the region to move out of poverty.

The President also promised to release P8.592 billion to ARMM for its transition and investment support plan, the President said adding that the measure is aimed at ensuring the long-term stability and equitable progress of the region.

At the same time, the President said that he will appoint officer in charge (OIC) in consultation with stakeholders putting people of integrity and competence in various positions in the ARMM.

The Palace said the Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG) has already come up with a list of ARMM officials and the President is expected to name them in the coming days.

“As we prepare to synchronize ARMM and national elections in 2013, our nation has taken another significant step into daylight. May all our leaders, at all levels and branches of government, continue to be bound by our common agenda of lasting and equitable progress for
the Filipino people,” the President said in his statement.

Aside from affirming the legality of Republic Act 10153, the SC also recognized the authority of the President to appoint officers in charge in the ARMM. (PCOO)

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