ARMM poll postponement hit
Several opposition lawmakers on Wednesday said they would challenge before the Supreme Court the constitutionality of a bill postponing the elections at the Autonomous Region of Muslim Mindanao (ARMM) in August once it is signed into law by President Aquino.
Minority Leader Edcel Lagman questioned the passage of the final draft in the plenary of the House of Representatives the other day without the benefit of a bicameral conference committee despite differences in the House and the Senate versions.
“I’m sure there will be petitions to be interposed before the Supreme Court,” Lagman said in a press conference called by the minority bloc in the House.
“The opposition (congressmen) can join these petitioners or we can opt to file our own petition,” he stressed.
He said that under the rules, there is a need for a bicameral conference committee if there are differing versions between the House and Senate versions unless the House accedes to the Senate version.
He lamented that House members who voted for the final draft of the proposed law abandoned the House version when it was supposed to defend it, all in the spirit of expediency.
Lagman cited as contentious issues the provisions allowing the Senate President and Speaker to recommend to the President the appointment of officers in charge in the Senate version, and allowing these OICs to run in the midterm elections in the Senate version.
In the House version, a body to be formed will recommend OICs who are prohibited from seeking the office they are holding in an acting capacity during the ARMM elections.
Zambales Rep. Milagros Magsaysay said that allowing the President to appoint OICs and allowing them to run for ARMM elections would disadvantage other candidates because they would have access to resources while in office.
Magsaysay blamed Speaker Feliciano Belmonte Jr. for readily acceding to the Senate version without the benefit of a conference committee.