Chiz Bucks Bill to Postpone ARMM Polls

Senator Chiz Escudero expressed concern over the errors in both versions of the proposed legislation seeking to postpone the elections in Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM) pending in the Senate and the House of Representatives pertaining to the term of office of elected regional officials.

Escudero said House Bill Number 4146 (HB 4146) and Senate Bill Number 2756 (SB 2756) pushing to synchronize the ARMM election with the 2013 balloting are flawed, specifically Section 2 of both bills which provides for the new term of office of the elected officials.

Under the two proposals, the “term of office of the Regional Governor, Regional Vice Governor and Members of the Regional Legislative Assembly of the ARMM shall be for a period of three 93) years, which shall begin at noon on the thirtieth (30th) day of September next following the day of the election and shall end at noon of the same date three (3) years thereafter.”

Escudero, who is opposed to postponing the ARMM political exercise, said Section 2 of both bills is incoherent and is a misnomer to the reason why the postponement is being sought.

“If both bills seek to synchronize the ARMM poll with the national elections in 2013, then Section 2 is incoherent. The election in 2013 is done in May and all winners will assume office on June 30 of the same year. Their term will expire on June 29, 2016,” Escudero explained.

“If we follow the Section 2 provision of HB 4146 and SB 2756 that ARMM elected officials’ term will begin on September 30, 2013 and ends three years after, that’s September 29, 2016. How can they participate in the next political exercise, which is May 2016, if the expiration of their terms is not synchronized with the rest of the country? It totally defeats the purpose of postponing it to synchronize,” pointed out.

According to the senator, the provision has no rhyme and reason which is evident of a rushed and haphazard work. “We are being rushed to tackle and approve the bill. It is clearly done in a haphazard way. Now they also want us to approve it in a haphazard manner. This is not right,” Escudero said.

He said the ARMM election this year should be allowed to take place and any legislative amendment should be examined, studied and discussed thoroughly.

“Continuity in the ARMM administration is crucial in the peace and economic development programs as it means pursuing these without interruptions,” Escudero said.