Malaya - Palace still hopeful ARMM election will be postponed

30 May 2011

By Regina Bengco | Malaya

MALAYA_thumbMALACAÑANG remains hopeful that the bill seeking to postpone the August 8 elections in the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao will still be approved even if Congress only has six session days left to deliberate on it before it adjourns.

"We are still hoping that the elections would be postponed, and that the proposed bill by Malacañang will pass," deputy presidential spokesman Abigail Valte said.

Valte said President Aquino is still open to meeting with senators – those who are willing – to discuss with them "the wisdom behind the bill and why we are pushing it."

She said the Palace has been forthright with its desire to explain its intentions to the senators.

So far, Aquino has met his party mates in the Liberal Party – Senators Francis Pangilinan, Ralph Recto, Teofisto Guingona III, and Franklin Drilon – and allies Senators Panfilo Lacson and Antonio Trillanes IV.

Valte said the ongoing preparations of the Commission on Elections for the ARMM polls are understandable since the bill on the postponement is still pending. "As far as Comelec is concerned, tuloy pa iyong election. So they’ve done the necessary preparations and it is better that they are prepared," she said.

The first regular session of the 15th Congress will adjourn sine die on June 10. Its last session day will be on June 8, giving Congress only six session days to wrap up its unfinished business.

Congress will open again on July 25, with President Aquino delivering his second State of the Nation Address.

Sen. Ferdinand Marcos Jr., chairman of the Senate committee on local government, has said his committee will come out with a report on the Palace-backed postponement bill (Senate Bill 2756) early this week and that there is still time for floor debates and a vote.

The Senate committee has scheduled a final hearing on May 31 where high-ranking Malacañang officials will be invited as resource persons.

Among those invited to the hearing are Interior Secretary Jesse Robredo, presidential adviser on the peace process Teresita Deles, presidential adviser for political affairs Robert Llamas, Comelec chairman Sixto Brillantes and Comelec legal department head Ferdinand Rafanan.