Sen. Marcos          Photo by Rene Dilan
Sen. Marcos
Photo by Rene Dilan

HOLDING the first regular Bangsamoro autonomous region polls simultaneously with the 2016 national elections may not be possible even if Congress manages to pass the proposed Bangsamoro Basic law (BBL) by September, Sen. Ferdinand Marcos Jr., said in a news forum on Tuesday.

Speaking during the weekly Bulong Pulungan, Marcos noted that the Commission on Elections (Comelec) may not have enough time to make necessary preparations for the election of officials for the newly established Bangsamoro autonomous region.

|Marcos, chairman of the Senate Committee on Local Government that disapproved the Malacanang-version of the draft BBL, said that based on information he got from the Comelec, the poll body needs at least six months to prepare the list of voters for the new Bangsamoro region.

The preparation, he said, would only commence after the plebiscite because it is only then that the Comelec could determine which province would be included in the Bangsamoro region.

“The Comelec still needs six months to prepare the voters list because they do not know what provinces will be included,” Marcos explained.

Congress, before it went on sine die adjournment last month, had set September as the new deadline for passage of the BBL.

But even with the new deadline, Marcos said he still doubts that the filing of candidacy for the new political entity can be done in October, the deadline set by the Comelec for the filing of certificates of candidacy (COC) for those planning to run in 2016.

In case the BBL is not enacted by October, according to the senator, the filing of COC will be for the officials of the current Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM), not for those of the Bangsamoro.

Marcos earlier vowed to have a substitute bill on the BBL ready by the time the 16th Congress convenes for its third and final regular session later this month.

But the draft BBL still needs to undergo several procedures before it can be transmitted to Malacañang for the final signature of President Benigno Aquino 3rd.

“We will be able to pass something. For me, the best-case scenario is that the substitute bill will be passed as it is, but we know that is not going to happen because everybody has their own inputs,” Marcos said.