Comelec to continue COC filing in Mindanao amid BBL
Roel Pareño (Philstar.com) - September 23, 2015 - 1:53am

ZAMBOANGA CITY, Philippines - The Commission on Election (Comelec) will not suspend the filing of certificates of candidacy (COC) in the autonomous region for 2016 polls pending the passage of the Bangsamoro Basic Law (BBL).

Zamboanga City Rep. Celso Lobregat said that Comelec Chairman Andres Bautista made the statement during their budget hearing last week.

According to Lobregat, the poll body has no choice but to continue the process in the Autonomous Region of Muslim Mindanao (ARMM).

“As per Chairman Bautista, since there is no statutory directive for them to do so they have no choice but to continue with the process as provided by law,” Lobregat said.

The filing of COC for ARMM candidates is becoming an issue since there is “almost zero” possibility for the proposed BBL to pass through the legislative mill of Congress before yearend.

Lobregat pointed out that candidates cannot file to be minister or parliamentarians of the Bangsamoro because there is no law.

“So the ARMM election will push through and that is another complication (to the passage of the BBL),” Lobregat said.

Meanwhile, the Comelec said the budget for the plebiscite in the proposed areas of the Bangsamoro region was scrapped by the Department of Budget and Management (DBM) from the proposed regular budget of the Comelec.

Comelec Commissioner Robert Lim said the budget for the plebiscite is part of the BBL.

Comelec said it will need 6 months before the plebiscite can be held if it goes through regular procurement process of public bidding.  But in case it will be be allowed to go through using the alternative modes of procurement, the period can be shortened from 90 to 120 days.

According to Lobregat, “miracles have to happen” for the BBL to be passed before September 28.

He said, “First miracle, the House passes it. Second miracle, the Senate passes it. Third, since there will be big difference in the versions; the two houses need to come up with a reconciled version in the Bicameral Conference. And last, there should be no challenge in the Supreme Court.”

Lobregat said that if the law is passed by September 28 and enacted in October, it will need 120 days for the plebiscite, which will fall in February next year, the start of campaign period.

Lobregat added that by September 28, the fiscal year 2016 budget will be deliberated in plenary and hardly anything else will be taken up.

ACIRC AUTONOMOUS REGION OF MUSLIM MINDANAO BANGSAMORO BANGSAMORO BASIC LAW BICAMERAL CONFERENCE CELSO LOBREGAT CHAIRMAN BAUTISTA COMELEC COMELEC CHAIRMAN ANDRES BAUTISTA COMELEC COMMISSIONER ROBERT LIM LOBREGAT
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