House split on postponement of ARMM elections

By RG Cruz, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Feb 07 2011 06:32 PM | Updated as of Feb 08 2011 02:32 AM

MANILA, Philippines - House of Representatives committee on suffrage chairman Elpidio Barzaga said ib Monday they are inviting Justice Secretary Leila de Lima, Presidential Adviser on the Peace Process Teresita Ging Deles, Executive Secretary Paquito Ochoa, and Interior Secretary Jesse Robredo to the next hearing on the bill postponing the August 2011 elections in the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM).

Barzaga told media that the bill filed by Rep. Pangalian Balindong seeks to reschedule the ARMM polls to coincide with the May 2013 mid-term elections.

Congressmen in both the suffrage and Muslim affairs committees said they have mixed reactions to this.

Some are against since the postponement would require a plebiscite to amend the organic law of the ARMM.

House Muslim affairs chairman Tupay Loong, meanwhile, said the proposal to reschedule the election is unconstitutional.

Loong said Representatives Sergio Apostol, Rufus Rodriuguez, and Simeon Datumaong all warned the committees that the proposal is against the constitution.

He said the time to prepare is not a hindrance as the elections are still in August.