Press Release
September 14, 2011


Senator Edgardo J. Angara lauded the Supreme Court's ruling preventing Malacañang from appointing officers in charge (OIC) to the Autonomous Region of Muslim Mindanao (ARMM) after Congress passed the law postponing elections in the region.

In an 8 to 4 vote, the Supreme Court issued a temporary restraining order (TRO) on the appointment of OIC's until the court rules with finality on Republic Act No. 10153, which suspended the ARMM elections scheduled for August 8, 2011 to synchronize it with the 2013 national and local elections.

"The Supreme Court's decision upholds the constitutional right of the Muslim people to choose their own leaders. Their right to suffrage is a fundamental part of their autonomy--of their identity.

"We risk inciting unrest if we insist on impinging on the right of the Bangsomoro people," stressed Angara, who was one of seven senators who voted against the Senate bill, which was passed by a 13-7 vote.

He continued, "The Arab Spring reflects the global Muslim community's clamor for genuine democratic representation, not appointed leaders. We must not toy with the Muslim community's self-rule--it is not a gift, but their right."

Standing by his earlier position, Angara said, "Let us leave it to the Supreme Court to debate on matters of constitutionality regarding the desynchronized ARMM elections. Again, it is not right to deprive people of the Muslim Mindanao their right to autonomy based on thin, shaky grounds."

SC Spokesperson Jose Midas Marquez explains that if the SC is not able to decide on the matter by September 30, the incumbent officials of the ARMM will stay in office, until successors are elected to replace them, as provided for by RA 9054 or the Organic Act.

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