Sen. Bongbong Sets Senate Hearing on Postponing ARMM Polls

The Senate Committee on Local Government, chaired by Senator Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos, Jr., will start conducting hearings on Thursday April 07 on the proposed postponement of the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM) elections originally scheduled this August 2011.

Marcos said that the initial hearing to be held at the Senate will look into the true sentiments of the people of ARMM regarding the Palace’s bill seeking to postpone elections to 2013 and appointing Officers-in-charge (OIC’s) in the interim.

Invited to attend the Senate hearing are officials of the ARMM led by Acting Regional Governor Ansaruddin Alonto Adiong, Commision on Elections (COMELEC), Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG), Department of National Defense (DND), Department of Justice (DOJ), Philippine National Police (PNP), the Office of Presidential Adviser on Peace Process (OPAPP), Philippine Constitution Association (PHILCONSA), the Regional Legislative Assembly (RLA), National Commission on Muslim Filipinos, Reform ARMM Now Coalition, Center for People Empowerment in Governance (CENPEG), Parish Pastoral Council for Responsible Voting (PPCRV), Bangsamoro Solidarity Movement, Mindanao Development Authority (MinDA) and other officials from the ARMM region.

Senate Bill 2756 calling for the deferment of elections in the region’s five provinces and one city (Marawi) and giving President Benigno Aquino III the power to appoint OICs until new officials are elected in 2013 was filed by Sen Franklin Drilon after the House of Representative approved its version of the measure, House Bill 4146 which has earlier been certified as urgent by Aquino, before the Congress adjourned its regular session last March 24.

Marcos earlier insisted that the administration should first clearly establish the true sentiments of the people of ARMM saying that the Palace’s insistence on the postponement of elections in the region and subsequent appointment of OIC’s to replace elected officials in the interim goes against the very autonomous provision of the charter.
He added that the ARMM’s autonomous status is enshrined in our constitution and must be the basis for the consideration regarding the postponement of the elections. “The idea of having ARMM’s officials appointed by the Palace in Manila rather than elected by ARMM’s residents mocks the very essence of the autonomy of that region.”

“I seriously doubt that the administration can just walk in and insist that they appoint the officials of the ARMM local government rather than have them elected by the people without having the populace of that province up in arms, so to speak.” Marcos said

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