Senate Minority Leader Alan Peter Cayetano urged the Aquino administration to gather the best legal minds from among those who supported RA 1013 or the postponement of the Autonomous Region of Muslim Mindanao (ARMM) elections when it makes its case in seeking the lifting of the temporary restraining order.
“We have some of the best people to argue the case of the ARMM poll postponement in the Senate. But when RA 1013 was being reviewed by the SC, I don’t think the Palace asked for their or the bill’s sponsors help to defend it,” he said.
The senator pointed out that the said issue has to be resolved as soon as possible to avoid further confusion on only on the intent of our laws but on the status of the political reforms planned for the region.
“Under the law, the President cannot appoint OICs while the TRO is in effect. But at the same time, the Constitution states that in the event of a void in leadership, the President has the power to appoint. These arguments need to be clarified or we might end up violating the Constitution,” he said.
In the mean time, the minority leader urged both the Palace’ legal and legislative teams to define concrete plans for their intended reforms in ARMM.
“Postponement alone does not equate to reform. So while waiting for this issue to be resolved, they should map out their course of action in instituting reforms in the region,” he said.
Cayetano also urged Malacanang to assess its legal team’s strength and determine what needs to be done to bolster its capabilities.
“In the legal world, there will always be stumbling blocks. What we need are bulldozers that will make a way for you or find you alternative yet constitutional roads instead.
So whether we agree that the legal team is either weak or not, I think we all agree that it has to be strengthened,” he said.