MANILA, June 7, 2011â€” Catholic bishops in Southern Philippines expressed disappointment over a decision to postpone the elections in the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao.
The bishops described the Senateâ€™s approval of the bill delaying the ARMM polls set on August 8 as an apparent example of â€œManila imperialism.â€
â€œThe law is not respected and, we, here in Mindanao are not given the opportunity to choose our own leaders,â€ Basilan Bishop Martin Jumoad said.
â€œWe want the elections and not the imposition of (national) leaders,â€ he said.
Cotabato Auxiliary Bishop Jose Colin Bagaforo also echoed the same sentiments, adding that the ARMM elections should push through as scheduled.
â€œThe principle of autonomy is violated with that (Senate) vote,â€ said Bagaforo.
Voting 13-7, the senators voted for the passage of Senate Bill 2756 that would synchronize the ARMM elections with the national mid-term elections in 2013.
The move is seen as concurrence to the desire of President Aquino, who had long clamored for the postponement of the elections to pave the way for much-needed reforms.
Bagaforo said that the decision may not sit well with the ARMM residents and generate negative reactions from them.
â€œI think the protest on that decision will continue,â€ said Bagaforo.
Jumoad, for his part, warned that the postponement of the elections could result to renewed political tensions in ARMM.
â€œThe possibility of discontentment breeds lawlessnessâ€¦ If the heat is too much, the pressure cannot be controlled,â€ he said. (CBCPNews)