ARMM poll postponement constitutional, SC maintains

The Supreme Court stuck with its earlier ruling declaring the postponement of the elections in Muslim Mindanao constitutional

MANILA, Philippines – The Supreme Court stuck with its earlier ruling declaring the postponement of the elections in Muslim Mindanao constitutional.

The High Tribunal, voting 8-6, junked the motion for reconsideration filed by different parties on its October 18, 2011 decision upholding the validity of Republic Act 10153, which synchronizes the elections in the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao with the 2013 midterm national elections.

Chief Justice Renato Corona inhibited himself from the proceedings.

Corona was one of those who dissented in the SC decision in October, which also said that President Benigno Aquino III could appoint the officers-in-charge in ARMM following the resetting of the elections. The SC voted 8-7 then, with Justices Lucas Bersamin, Diosdado Peralta, Martin Villarama, Jose Catral-Mendoza, Mariano del Castillo, Bienvenido Reyes, and Estela Perlas-Bernabe concurring with the decision penned by Justice Arturo Brion.

Dissenting along with Corona were Justices Antonio Carpio, Teresita Leonardo de Castro, Lourdes Sereno, Presbitero Velasco, Roberto Abad and Jose Perez.

Corona, Abad, De Castro and Velasco said the president could not appoint officers in charge for all posts in ARMM, while Carpio, Abad and Perez voted that the president could only name the OIC for the gubernatorial post.

SC spokesman Jose Midas Marquez said the justices retained their earlier votes.

Midas said Corona inhibited from the voting on the motion for reconsideration because the Senate is one of the respondents. The Senate, sitting as an impeachment court, would vote on the impeachment complaint against Corona. The chief justice has been accused of betraying public trust, among others.

Those who filed separate motions for reconsideration include Sen. Aquilino ‘Koko’ Pimentel III and election lawyer Romulo Macalintal. Pimentel said moving the ARMM elections violates the right to suffrage of the people of ARMM, while Macalintal said RA 10153 gives the president vast powers to appoint all officials in ARMM. –


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