Canceling Armm polls a 'dangerous precedence'-A A +A
Thursday, June 2, 2011
KIDAPAWAN CITY -- An Oblate priest who heads an independent and non-partisan think-tank in Mindanao warned that cancelling the elections in the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (Armm) will create a "dangerous precedence".
Fr. Eliseo Mercado, OMI, executive director of the Institute for Autonomy and Governance (IAG), said he cannot accept cancellation of a democratic practice under any guise except for "force majeure" (superior or greater force).
"I am for Armm elections as scheduled albeit it is flawed. Cancellation of elections is creating a very dangerous precedence! Reform and elections must go together. Never should it be an either/or case else we play a dangerous game with democratic practices," said Mercado.
IAG is an affiliate of the Notre Dame University and institutional partner of the Konrad-Adenauer-Stiftung in the Philippines.
Days after the filing of certificate of candidacy for the Armm elections started, talks were already circulating among clans, families, clusters, and alliances of municipalities in the region.
Mercado said the debates or "clashes" revolved around two camps.
The first is the Partido ng Demokratikong Pilipino-Laban tandem composed of Armm gubernatorial candidate Datu Pakung Mangudadatu and his running mate, Ting-ting Cojuangco.
The second is the rumored "administration" tandem composed of former Anak Mindanao party-list representative Mujib Hataman and current Armm acting regional governor Ansaruddin "Hookie" Adiong.
Mercado said "lines are being drawn and the region is now on election mode."
He said of the eight who ran in the gubernatorial race, only two are considered "serious candidates" while the rest can be classified as "nuisance".
The Commission on Elections (Comelec) said it will start next week removing "nuisance" candidates in the Armm elections.
Comelec-Armm Regional Director Ray Sumalipao said they will start to evaluate the certificates of candidacy submitted to their office.
This, he said, is an initial step to check whether these candidates are qualified or can be considered nuisance.
Sumalipao said because of the "screening", the aspirants for the Armm's gubernatorial post might be reduced from 14 to six.
Published in the Sun.Star Davao newspaper on June 02, 2011.