‘Unfavorable’ report seen in Senate over ARMM polls postponement
MANILA, Philippines – Expect an “unfavorable” report when the two panels in the Senate that tackled the proposed postponement of the August 2011 Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM) elections make a report in the plenary.
“The committee report is going to be unfavorable,” said Senator Ferdinand “Bong-Bong” Marcos after the committee on local government which he heads and the committee on constitutional amendments of Senator Francis “Chiz” Escudero concluded its deliberations on Tuesday.
“In the rules of the Senate, an unfavorable committee report is automatically archived. But I think, we will find a way…to bring it back to the floor for discussion for the senators,” Marcos said.
Despite Malacanang’s push for the ARMM polls postponement, Marcos pointed out that the general consensus among senators was to push through with the August elections.
He said pushing through with the election was also a good compromise since Congress could always resume its discussions on the proposed synchronization of the ARMM polls with the national elections.
“Actually ang concensus, ang magandang compromise dito ay yun na nga, ituloy na lang ang halalan at pagkatapos na nating madesisyunan yun, babalik ang mga kongresista at mga senador at papasa ng mga batas na papalitan ang term para mag synchronize na,” Marcos explained.
“That seems to be the least contentious proposal. But to do that we still have to pass a law, or we will defer this [postponement bill]. If we defer this, then the elections go on then we can come back and right those amendatory laws to change the term. That seems to be the general consensus amongst the senators,” he further said.
Despite this, Senator Juan Miguel Zubiri feared that those opposing the postponement might lose their fight on the floor when Malacañang uses its influence inthe Senate.
“I think if the muscle of the Palace would be flexed in the Senate, there’s a strong possibility that we can lose the numbers game and lose the fight on the floor. But that can’t prevent any of us, who opposed to join the petitioners in the Supreme Court,” he said.
Zubiri insisted that postponing the ARMM polls was a clear violation of the Organic Act and the Constitution.
Marcos, for his part, dispelled any speculation that any adverse recommendation by his committee was simply meant to oppose the Palace.
“What we could have done is merely sit on it and do nothing and had we done that, they would have been assured that this bill would not pass and the elections would continue,” he pointed out.
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