The Senate Committee on Local Government gave its assurance that a committee report on the Malacanang-backed proposal to cancel the Autonomous Region on Muslim Mindanao (ARMM) polls in favor of Malacanang appointees will come out early next week giving enough time for debates on the floor and a vote in plenary.
“I have informed my colleagues, Senator Franklin Drillon (sponsor of SB 2756) and Senate President Juan Ponce Enrile of the schedule of the committee so as to give them enough time, following procedure, to ensure that a vote by all Senators takes place before adjournment,” Senator Ferdinand “ Bongbong” Marcos said.
Marcos, chairman of the Senate panel, added that his committee also “communicated this agreement in the Senate to Executive Secretary Paquito Ochoa, Jr., DILG Secretary Jesse Robredo and Presidential Adviser for Political Affairs Robert Llamas assuring them that the commitee report will be submitted in time for a vote."
“I have been asked to comment on the statement of Presidential Spokesperson Edwin Lacierda 'urging me to let the entire Senate body decide on it and not unilaterally allow the bill to be archived.' I am not familiar or privy to the workings of the Malacanang Communications Group (I'm not sure anyone is) but it's either Mr. Lacierda is not being informed about the status of the bill and where it's headed or he is being too clever by half by putting a spin on the issue,” Marcos quipped.
He added that “I am looking forward to the opportunity to explain the Committee's report during the debate. I hope this is of some help to Mr. Lacierda's unnecessary fretting and fussing about the bill lacking time for a vote in plenary and all kinds of worries stemming from not having been informed of the arrangements in schedules here at the Senate.”
The Senate committee has scheduled a final hearing on Tuesday, May 31, 2011 in which high-ranking Malacanang officials would be invited as resource persons before coming out with a committee report.
“We are giving the Executive Branch of government the last say, so to speak, to explain exactly why they had made this proposal to cancel the ARMM elections scheduled for August of this year in favor of Malacanang appointees,” Marcos said.
Among those invited to attend the hearing are Secretary Jesse Robredo of Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG), Presidential Adviser on the Peace Process Teresita Deles, and Presidential Adviser for Political Affairs Robert Llamas.
Also invited are Commission on Elections Chairman Sixto Brillantes and Atty. Ferdinand Rafanan of Comelec Legal department.
The senator expressed confidence that after the final hearing on ARMM his committee will have the proper basis for a complete committee report which he will bring to the floor as soon as possible.