PPCRV OKs postponement of ARMM polls

Posted By: Chris On:

MANILA, Feb 17, 2011—A church-based poll watchdog has joined the growing chorus for the postponement of the elections in the Autonomous Region Muslim Mindanao for the poll body to have more time to prepare.

Parish Pastoral Council for Responsible Voting (PPCRV) chairperson Henrietta de Villa said they support proposals for the synchronization of the ARMM polls with the 2013 midterm elections.

“It will be better if they will postpone it to give the Comelec more time to prepare,” de Villa said in Filipino.

She also said that the postponement of the August 8 ARMM elections would also give them enough time to educate voters.

The PPCRV head, however, said the elections in Muslim Mindanao, considered the “cheating capital” of the country, should be held one or two months ahead of the midterm elections.

A multi-sectoral organization also demanded the deferment of the ARMM elections and that a caretaker government is formed in the meantime.

The newly-launched iPAD-Mindanao (I am for Peace and Development in Mindanao) underscored that the upcoming polls would still not bring the desired change there.

It said elections in ARMM is still determined by traditional and “warlord politicians” who use money and guns to cling to power.

In a manifesto, iPAD-Mindanao chairperson Janree Pundato-Disomimba said that the ARMM election has never been truly the reflection of the real sentiments of the people.

Voluminous cases of ghost and flying voters, massive vote buying, harassment, electoral violence in the ARMM election are always “the order of the day,” she said.

“We believe that the postponement of ARMM election is a decisive step to institute immediate political and electoral reforms. We are for reform first before we agree to hold an election,” Disomimba said in a forum in Manila Feb. 15.

The group believes that that there can be no credible and honest polls in the war-ravaged region when the bases of warlordism are still intact.

Disomimba said a caretaker government is also necessary to pave the way for an “engagement” or consultation with the people in the grass roots level to find out who they really want to lead them.

She said they are not for hold over capacity, but for a leadership and system change. “We need to change the leaders from top to bottom,” according to her.

“Let us listen to the people and let’s give them a venue where they can truly participate and choose what and who they really want,” said Disomimba.

“More than the environmental, legal and social issues, the real issue here is character and leadership crisis. The quality leadership is what we don’t have,” she added.

The organization already has a short list of candidates that they want to lead for the caretaker government they are proposing.

Nash Pangadapun, secretary general of Bangsamoro Freedom Alliance, said the short list contains nine civil society leaders, politicians and religions leaders.

He, however, refused to identify the personalities “because we also don’t want to preempt the decision of President Aquino.”

What is clear in the shortlist, Disomimba said, is that the former and current ARMM leaders are no longer included. (CBCPNews)

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