Press Release
May 31, 2011

Sen Bongbong: Bill on postponement of ARMM election shelved

The Senate Committees on Local Government and Constitutional Amendment, Revision of Codes and Laws shelved a bill calling for the postponement of elections in the Autonomous Region for Muslim Mindanao.

"The Organic Act of the Constitution states officials in the Autonomous Region for Muslim Mindanao (ARMM) must be elected and not appointed. They must be changed by elected officials. Clearly, postponing the elections will be a violation of the Constitution," Senator Bongbong Marocs, chair of the Committee on Local Government, told reporters during a press briefing today.

Under the Rule XI, Section 30 of the Rules of the Senate, an unfavorable rule from the joint committees on Local Government and Constitutional Amendments, Revision of Codes and Laws will automatically send the Senate Bill 2756 to the archives unless five senators shall in the following session move for their inclusion in the Calendar for Ordinary Business, in which case the Senate President shall so order.

SB 2756, otherwise known as an Act providing for the synchronization of the elections and the term of office of the elective officials of the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao with those of the national and other local officials, was introduced by Senator Franklin Drilon.

"If you will look closely at the bill, it is for the cancellation of the elections in the ARMM and not merely for its postponement. Officials will be appointed with the appointing process to be undertaken by the President himself," Marcos revealed.

He said SB 2756 and its counterpart passed by the House, HBN 4146, have a lot of inconsistencies, such as the term of office of elected officials and the synchronization with the national elections, that must be studied. "No committee has yet ruled unfavorably on a bill until this time. So we are making history (with the committee report). We could just have sat on it but it is such an important bill and a matter of fundamental importance to a national policy. It has to be discussed in the open, in the floor. We would have rendered unsatisfactorily report if we had just sat down on it," Marcos explained.

Marcos is expected to present the committee result on the ARMM elections postponement at the Plenary Session today.

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