BOL plebiscite on February 6 to proceed despite Jolo blasts – Comelec
MANILA, Philippines – The next referendum for the Bangsamoro Organic law (BOL) ratification will proceed on February 6 despite the recent bombings that destroyed a cathedral and left 20 people dead and scores wounded in Jolo, Sulu.
Commission on Elections (Comelec) spokesperson James Jimenez said Monday that a deferment of the upcoming second round of BOL plebiscite due to the twin blasts at the Marian Cathedral of Our Lady of Mount Carmel were not discussed by the poll body.
The second plebiscite will be on the inclusion of Lanao del Norte and six municipalities in North Cotabato to the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region of Muslim Mindanao (BARMM), which would be created under BOL.
“That has not been discussed. It is not being discussed. I don’t know that it is being considered at all,” Jimenez said.
“We will prepare as normal. If anything, the police will probably be on greater watchfulness,” he added.
Jimenez noted it is hard to say whether or not the Jolo bombings during a Sunday Mass at a Jolo church were related to BOL’s ratification.
“The situation right now is very volatile, it is easy to throw fingers of blame, but as far as Comelec is concerned, we will prefer that the police handle this investigation and for us to make the determination whether these blasts are BOL related to a later date,” he said.
“But ultimately, it would not affect the outcome of the BOL. The Comelec already released the plebiscite result,” he added.
The “yes” votes won the first round of BOL referendum held last January 21 in the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao; Isabela City, Basilan; and Cotabato City. /kga
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