Press Release
July 1, 2011


Senator Edgardo J. Angara reiterated his call for genuine democratic representation in the Autonomous Region of Muslim Mindanao (ARMM) after President Benigno Aquino III signed Republic Act 10153 into law yesterday.

The law will postpone the scheduled August 8 elections and synchronize it with the May 2013 national elections.

Angara was one of seven senators who voted against the passage of the bill when it was on the Senate floor on June 6. It was passed in spite of the Senate Committee on Local Government's recommendation against the postponement based on its research and consultations in the ARMM.

He stressed that canceling the election would send the wrong message to the Muslim community. "The ARMM was created precisely to give them autonomy and guarantee genuine representation for the region. Placing appointees to the governing body to rule for 22 months would be against those exact principles.

"We should not be so cavalier in dealing with the pledge of self-rule. Muslim Filipinos in Mindanao have fought for it since the Spanish colonization. It is their right - that is what we have to recognize and respect," added Angara.

Angara recalled that the grievances aired by both the Moro National Liberation Front (MNLF), the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) and the other factions in Mindanao are premised on genuine representation in the same way unrest in the Middle East is.

Proponents of the law argued that the ARMM election were unconstitutional because it is desynchronized with the national election. Angara said that it is a highly debatable and questionable basis for passing the bill, since the Supreme Court is the final arbiter of constitutionality.

House Minority Floor Leader Rep. Edcel Lagman filed yesterday a motion asking the Supreme Court to nullify the RA 10153 on the same grounds.

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