Plebiscite Needed to Postpone ARMM Polls – Chiz

Any amendment resetting the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM) elections can only be made effective and valid through a plebiscite duly called for that purpose, Senator Chiz Escudero today said.

Escudero, chairman of the Senate Committee on justice and human rights, bucked the plan and legislative moves postponing the ARMM elections, including the appointment of officers-in-charge (OIC) in the regional government to serve in the interim period.

“It is my opinion that the bill postponing the ARMM election, including appointing OICs, is an amendment of the ARMM Organic Law, which requires two-thirds vote of Congress, with both chambers voting separately. In a plebiscite, the people directly participate. It is considered sacred as it defines or makes a social contract such as ARMM,” Escudero explained.

Any revision or amendment to Republic Act 9054, or the ARMM Organic Law, explicitly requires a vote of two-thirds of Congress voting separately. A majority vote in a plebiscite automatically gives the hands down result, as mandated under Sections 1 and 3, Article XVII of RA 9054.

The Palace has certified as urgent a legislation seeking to postpone the ARMM elections to put in place reforms and synchronize it with the 2013 political exercise.

According to Escudero, continuity in the ARMM administration is crucial in the peace and economic development programs as it means pursuing these without interruptions.

“The only way to achieve lasting peace is by following the basic rudiments of democracy and due process. “Let the people of ARMM decide for themselves who they want to choose as their leaders. They know who is good for them,” Escudero said.