By Mario B. Casayuran | Manila Bulletin
MANILA, Philippines — The Malacanang-backed bill postponing the August 8 election in the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM) cannot be decided by “who shouts the loudest and who has the biggest placard,” Sen. Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr. said Saturday.
Marcos, chairman of the Senate local government committee, is not in favor of the postponement but has to abide by the decision of his committee to follow the bill approved by the House of Representatives synchronizing the ARMM election with the senatorial elections in 2013.
Marcos said his committee still has to consider the legal and constitutional issues of deferring the polls.
"The legal and constitutional merits have to be properly examined,” he said.
The son of the late President Marcos pointed out that his committee has to give time for political debates, including whether holding them at the same time as national elections will be good for the region.
“There are still many things that need to be done for House Bill 4146 to gain the approval and concurrence of the Senate, if at all,” he said.
The earliest that the Marcos committee can present its report on the floor would be on May 9, when the Senate regular session starts after a 45-day recess.
Bongbong: More debate needed on ARMM poll postponement
Deadline for filing of certificates of candidacies for ARMM candidates is May 2.
The Senate would have its hands full when it resumes session on May 9 because it will have to split its legislative duties and its constitutional mandate as an impeachment court during the last four weeks of the second regular session of the current 15h Congress before adjourning sine die on June 11.
Marcos emphasized that he is merely following the procedures in handling the deliberations on the bill.
“It's not difficult to imagine the time constraints posed by the schedules I've just mentioned. Be that as it may, we will continue to do our committee work, but making sure all sides are heard and the true sentiments of the people of ARMM are adhered to and given its proper weight as residents of the autonomous region with emphasis on “autonomous,’’ he said.
Marcos said that it is part of the original proposal from the Palace that it would appoint officers-in-charge (OICs) in view of the expected vacancy when the ARMM is postponed.