• Bangsamoro polls may not be held next year – Comelec

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    THE Commission on Elections (Comelec) on Sunday admitted that there is no certainty that the first Bangsamoro election will be held in 2016 because Congress has yet to pass a measure that will create a Bangsamoro Autonomous Region.

    Comelec Chairman Andres Bautista said until Congress passes the measure, the poll body cannot make plans for the holding of a Bangsamoro election.

    “Let’s see first what will happen to the law (Bangsamoro). We can talk about the Bangsamoro elections once the proposed law nears its passage,” Bautista said in a radio interview.

    The Senate and the House of Representative are currently deliberating on their respective versions of the proposed Bangsamoro law.

    After the two chambers passed their versions, lawmakers will convene for a bicameral conference committee to reconcile conflicting provisions if there are any.

    Senator Ferdinand Marcos Jr., the sponsor of the bill in the Senate, said the legislative process may take some time. He added that there is also a possibility that the proposed law will be questioned at the Supreme Court.

    Under Marcos’ bill, the first elections for the Bangsamoro Regional Government shall be held within 180 days after the ratification of the basic law.

    This means that the Comelec should already conduct a plebiscite to determine which provinces would be included in the new Bangsamoro region.

    Bautista said the commission will need six months to prepare for the plebiscite.

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