MANILA, Philippines - President Benigno Aquino III on Wednesday defended his administration's decision to postpone the ARMM elections and synchronize it with the 2013 polls.
The President said the existing ARMM polls setup violates the constitutional provision to have synchronized elections.
"Ang mangyayari po dyan command votes para ma-elect dun sa ARMM, tapos in-turn yung ARMM naman magiging command votes para i-elect yung national, so nawawala po yung klarong mandato nung tao," he said.
Aquino added that his administration's action on the postponement is not an encroachment on the region’s autonomy.
"Kung masaya ho tayo sa nangyayari sa ARMM, bakit nga tayo makikiaalam? Pero pag naghanap ho kayo ng estastikang mabigat, highest rates of infant mortality dun, paternal mortality dun, lack of access to potable water dun, kidnapping, robbery, bombings?” he asked.
“Pwede ko bang sabihing, uy ARMM kayo di na kayo Pilipinas wala akong pakialam sa inyo. Eh palagay ko naman ho malaking kasalanan yun," Aquino said.
He added that he is for autonomy of ARMM and assured that he will not dictate on the Muslim region.
Mangudadatu welcomes polls’ postponement
Maguindanao Governor Esmael Mangudadatu, meanwhile, expressed elation over the postponement of the elections.
Mangudadatu said House Bill 4146 will pave the way to cleanse the region.
He added that a P1.2-billion budget can be used for electoral reform.
Maguindanao Vice-Governor Dustin Mastura, however, has a different reason for supporting the measure.
Mastura said he is supporting the bill to give way to peace process.
The Moro Islamic Liberation Front has refused to give an official statement on proposal, which is now waiting for the Senate’s approval.
The MILF earlier endorsed the postponement of the ARMM polls.