Philippine Star - Senate panel eyes one more hearing on ARMM bill

16 May 2011

By Marvin Sy | The Philippine Star

Featured-Image-Philippine-StarMANILA, Philippines - The Senate committee on local government chaired by Sen. Ferdinand Marcos Jr. intends to conduct one more hearing on the bill calling for the postponement of the elections in the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM) but according to an opposition senator, this would cause yet another unnecessary delay.

Sen. Joker Arroyo said the bill should be scheduled for debates on the floor immediately so it can be disposed of already, in a sense.

Arroyo is against the postponement of the ARMM elections and he believes that the final vote on the administration-backed bill in the Senate would show that those opposed have the numbers.

Presidential spokesman Edwin Lacierda yesterday urged Marcos to “let the entire Senate body decide on the bill itself and not unilaterally allow (it) to be archived.”

Sen. Juan Miguel Zubiri, vice chairman of the Senate committee on local government, said another hearing would be conducted because the Cabinet secretaries invited to the previous hearing in Marawi City were not present.

Zubiri said the committee wants to hear the plan of action of the executive branch on the appointment of officers-in-charge in the ARMM, a matter which has emerged as one of the bill’s most contentious provisions.

However, Arroyo said conducting yet another hearing at this stage when the date for the ARMM elections is drawing near and the Senate is about to adjourn its first regular session, would cause undue delay.

“No more hearing. Every time there’s a hearing there’s a delay,” Arroyo said.

Apart from the four Liberal Party senators – Franklin Drilon, Francis Pangilinan, Ralph Recto and Teofisto Guingona III – no other senator has openly supported the bill postponing the ARMM polls.