MANILA, Philippines (UPDATE) - Petitioners against the implementation of Republic Act (RA) 10153, the recently enacted law cancelling the August 8, 2011 elections in the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM) in favor of its synchronization with the national and local polls, failed to secure a temporary restraining order (TRO) from the Supreme Court (SC).
SC spokesman Atty. Jose Midas Marquez, in a news conference on Tuesday, said the high court instead ordered respondents Malacañang and the Commission on Elections (COMELEC) to comment within a non-extendable period of 10 days on the petitions filed by House minority leader Rep. Edcel Lagman, election lawyer Romulo Macalintal, Partido Demokratiko Pilipino-Lakas ng Bayan (PDP-Laban), and Muslim leaders -- all of which were consolidated.
Marquez said the high court, sitting En Banc, took cognizance of the urgency of the case, thus, the non-extendable period given to respondents to file their comment.
Petitioners assailed the constitutionality of RA 10153, claiming it violates the autonomy granted by the Constitution to local governments.
They claimed said law is an amendment of the Organic Law itself of the ARMM, which required passage by 2/3rds extraordinary majority vote and the required subsequent plebiscite by voters in the region.
Petitioners also claimed the provision in the questioned new law authorizing the president to appoint officers-in-charge (OICs) is violative of the Constitution.