By Leslie Ann Aquino
Although he is from Mindanao, Commission on Elections chairman Sheriff Abas won’t be voting in the upcoming plebiscite for the ratification of the Bangsamoro Organic Law.
Abas said this is so as not to affect the integrity of the plebiscite.
“Nagkataon ako chairman Comelec, but I can assure you that the Comelec will be fair at hindi kami magiging bias sa resulta ng plebiscite. Trabaho lang walang personalan. Pwedeng meron ako sariling pasya, sariling pananaw pero set aside namin ito para hindi maapektuhan integrity ng plebiscite being the chairman,” he said in his speech during the signing of the memorandum of agreement for voter education and information campaign for the Bangsamoro plebiscite in Manila, Friday.
“Hindi naman kaila sa inyo na my uncle (Mohagher Iqbal) is the chief negotiator of the MILF (Moro Islamic Liberation Front)…mahirap man sa personal level, but sa official, I can assure you that I will be very very fair,” added Abas.
“Para madagdagan assurance, ako mismo hindi ako boboto…From the moment I will vote sigurado ako meron na ako bias. But hindi po ako uuwi. I will remain in Manila, but I will see to it na hindi madadaya ang boto sa plebiscite whether yes or no,” he said.
Meanwhile, the poll chief also assured that they will do everything to make the conduct of the plebiscite orderly and peaceful.
“Merong mga area na magiging bloody like Cotabato City. Thats my birthplace. Hinding hindi ko hahayaan na magugulo yan dahil lang sa plebiscite,” said Abas.
“As to sa sinasabi ko na bloody, hindi naman siguro literal. Hindi naman hahayaan ng ating AFP and PNP na maging literal na bloody. Pero gitgitan dyan because gaya ng sabi ko naiimpluwensiyahan siya ng local politics,” he added.
The plebiscite for the ratification of the Bangsamoro Organic Law (BOL) will be conducted in two separate days on January 21 and February 6, 2019.
The Commission on Elections said the January 21 plebiscite will be conducted in areas comprising the Autonomous Region of Muslim Mindanao (ARMM), as well as Isabela City in Basilan, and Cotabato City.
For the province of Lanao del Norte, except Iligan City; the municipalities of Aleosan, Carmen, Kabacan, Midsayap, Pikit, and Pigkawayan in the province of North Cotabato; and all other areas contiguous to any of the Bangsamoro core areas where: the local government of such area, by way of a resolution, asked for inclusion in the plebiscite; or at least 10 percent of the registered voters in a local government unit, by way of a petition, asked for inclusion in the plebiscite. The plebiscite will be held on February 6.