Press Release
June 1, 2011


The Senate's move to bring back the Autonomous Region of Muslim Mindanao (ARMM) elections bill to the floor for plenary debate does not mean that the Senate has backpedaled on its committee's decision not to recommend the election's postponement, said Senator Edgardo J. Angara.

The veteran lawmaker - Senate president from 1993-1995 - clarified the process to avoid giving the public the wrong impression.

"I think it's important to give some background on the rules of the Senate. We owe it to the Filipino public, after all. We should help them understand why we have to go through these processes," Angara said.

The Senate Committee on Local Government conducted a series of public hearings on Senate Bill 2576, or the act proposing the synchronization of the ARMM elections with the national elections, and its counterpart House Bill 4146. However, the committee did not recommend the action sought by these bills, which it said was a cancellation of the ARMM polls.

However, some senators sought to revive discussions on the issue.

Angara explained the process, "If a committee report is adverse - meaning it does not recommend the action called for by the resolution or bill - then the rules of Senate require that the bill be sent to the archives.

"However, if the members of the Senate still want that particular subject matter debated and discussed in plenary, a minimum of five senators can vote to retrieve those documents from the archives and restore it to the calendar of business," Angara explained.

Six senators voted to do so yesterday, hence the ARMM elections bill will be discussed on the floor today.

"Ultimately, we only want the public to understand the ramifications of this issue. Elections are at the heart of our democracy. Through an enlightening debate, we hope all Filipinos will appreciate and learn to fight for their rights enshrined in our Constitution," Angara said.

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