Palace urges Comelec to prepare for Bangsamoro plebiscite

By RG Cruz, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Apr 07 2014 07:35 PM | Updated as of Apr 08 2014 03:35 AM

MANILA -- Malacañang is urging the Commission on Elections (Comelec) to prepare for a plebiscite on the proposed Bangsamoro Basic Law (BBL).

"Comelec should also be anticipating that. But again, the Comelec is an independent commission, so knowing what the timeline is -- we have said this time and again -- we hope that the Comelec is already also preparing for the plebiscite," presidential spokesperson Edwin Lacierda said.

A ratification in the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM) areas as well as other contiguous places that want to join is a key requirement before the law is implemented, should it be approved by Congress.

Currently, the bill for the law is still being drafted by the Bangsamoro Transition Commission.

"The Bangsamoro Transition Commission is now drafting the Bangsamoro Basic Law based from the Comprehensive Agreement on the Bangsamoro. That is now working and hopefully we will receive the draft. Active engagement of the Office of the President comes in when it is submitted to the Office of the President for their review and approval. The timeline is really to submit it (to the Office of the President) as early as possible. Pagkatapos ng recess," Lacierda said.

The BTC is expected to submit the draft BBL to Malacañang for its review prior to its filing in Congress. Congress is expecting the bill by June.

Congress returns from its ongoing summer vacation on May 5.

"We are hoping that we can review everything sometime after that, so we can abbreviate the process of reviewing, so our purpose is to... After the review process is done, we can file this as early as possible, so...we would prefer that it... That we will be able to finalize the review process in time for filing sometime in May. But, you know, these are schedules that we are loo[king]-timetable. We are looking at the timeline and hopefully we can follow the timeline," Lacierda said.

The BBL is meant to institutionalize the CAB which was signed last week by the government and the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF).