Senators still have enough time to divide Camarines Sur.
In an interview, Senator Miriam Defensor-Santiago noted “strong possibility” for the Senate to divide the Bicol province into Camarines Sur and Nueva Camarines by the first week of October.
“The Comelec (Commission on Elections) has announced that they are willing to move back the filing of COC (Certificates of Candidacy) if the Senate approves (the bill) by October 8,” Santiago said.
“So there is still strong possibility that the province will still be divided,” she stressed.
Santiago issued the statement after Comelec chairman Sixto Brillantes said the poll body may postpone the deadline of COC for those running in Camarines Sur to a later date.
Brillantes expressed willingness to extend the COC filing, which will start on October 1 and last on October 5, if the Senate decides to approve the bill dividing Camarines Sur.
The Senate adjourned sessions on September 22 and resume on October 8. Senators will have at least two weeks until it goes on recess again on October 19.
Santiago explained this will give them enough time to act on the bill, which is still pending for interpellation prior its approval on second reading.
The bill’s passage in the Senate inspired Senator Antonio Trillanes IV to accuse Senate President Juan Ponce Enrile of gerrymandering and to accommodate former President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo.
The enactment of the bill into a law has been said to benefit Mrs. Arroyo’s son and incumbent Camarines Sur Rep. Dato Arroyo and his ally, former Camarines Sur Rep. Luis Villafuerte.
But lawmakers in the House of Representatives warned that Trillanes’ move against the bill would have a negative consequence in his reelection bid.
House Deputy Speaker and Camarines Sur Rep. Arnulfo Fuentebella said a lot of residents in Camarines Sur sent him text messages expressing their anger against Trillanes for blocking the move to divide their province.
Fuentebella justified only a plebiscite can determine whether the people of Camarines Sur support or against the passage of the bill.