Sen. Bongbong on ARMM Polls: Racing against Time Constraints

28 April 2011

Racing-against-time-constraintThe Senate Committee on Local Government admitted time constraints in their effort to pass proposed measure postponing the August 8 elections in the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM).

Senator Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos, Jr., chairman of the committee, said the scheduled filing of Certificate of Candidacy (COC's) on Monday (May 2) , the campaign period, and the elections itself leaves little time for the bill to be passed if at all.

"The time constraint is quite severe but we shall do our best in racing against these time constraints notwithstanding the added work of the impeachment of the Ombudsman that will begin as soon as we reconvene on May 9, 2011, that will inevitably take up much of our time until a verdict is reached." Marcos said.

Marcos called for initial hearing last April 7 to establish the true sentiments of the people in the ARMM before the vote in the Senate on the postponement of the elections gets underway.

“We are giving this the urgency and priority as certified by the Palace but unfortunately, these bills were presented to the Senate and the Committee on our last day before recess. If and when the Committee approves it, this will be debated by the Senate in plenary and If the Senate passes the bill, it will then go into a bicameral conference with counterparts from the House of Representatives.” He added

During the hearing, Commission on Elections (Comelec) legal chief Atty Ferdinand Rafanan assured the committee that the Comelec is ready to hold the election on August 8 as scheduled despite ongoing debates on whether it should push thru or not.

Marcos emphasized that he is merely following the procedures in handling the deliberations on the bill and there is no firm assurance that his committee will be able to come up with recommendations citing the reason that they still have to consider the legal and constitutional issues confronting this matter.

“There are already at least 2 petitions filed with the Supreme Court on legal matters involving both the House and Senator Frank Drilon's bills and we expect more. The legal and constitutional aspects will be adjudicated by the Supreme Court.” Marcos disclosed.

Under the original proposal from the palace, the elected officials will be replaced by officers-in-charge (OICs) who will be appointed by the Executive in view of the vacancy.”That provision of the bill seems to be encountering the strongest objection from stakeholders of ARMM,” Marcos added.