PNoy downplays legal doubts on ARMM poll deferment


Posted at Jun 22 2011 01:52 PM | Updated as of Jun 23 2011 06:23 AM

MANILA, Philippines - President Benigno “Noynoy” Aquino III downplayed moves to question the postponement of the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao polls before the Supreme Court.

In a press conference in Cotabato City, Aquino said “doubts abound…why are we alarming ourselves over something which is unlikely to happen?”

Aquino is being blamed by critics of delaying the signing of the bill to deny the high court enough time to rule on expected petitions. House Minority Leader Edcel Lagman said this “dilatory” tactic will allow the administration to appoint officers-in-charge in the region.

Aquino said he will sign the bill on June 30.

He stressed the relevance of the bill, which would readily counter the legal questions of the opposition group.

He said the Commission on Audit has come up with evidence that previous ARMM officials had questionable transactions.

“I have a COA report regarinding the office of the regional governor sometime in 2008 or 2009, questioning the use of more than 50% of a P2 billion allocation. I had a chance to talk to [Chairman Grace Tan]…it seems we already have the evidence that they put up ghost schools, [employed] ghost teachers, etc…”

Aquino said the postponement, and the eventual appointment of officers-in-charge, would ensure the delivery of services to the people in the region.

He assured the public he will not be the only one to choose the appointees.

“We will try to be as inclusive as possible in the selection process. We will talk to stakeholders,” he added.