By Ernie Reyes | InterAksyon.com
MANILA, Philippines - Senator Ferdinand "Bongbong" Marcos Jr., on Tuesday expressed fear that constitutional questions could delay the passage of Bangsamoro Basic Law (BBL).
Marcos, chairman of the Senate committee on local governments hearing the proposed measure, urged his colleagues in the Committee on Rules to resolve the contentious issue by immediately referring the constitutional issues surrounding the Bangsamoro Basic Law to the Committee on Constitutional amendments or face the risk of missing the Senate’s self-imposed deadline of passing the law by the first quarter this year.
He expressed his concern when the floor opted to refer to the Committee on Rules the issue of three committees handling the BBL as suggested by Senate President Franklin Drilon.
Marcos said that his panel, together with the chairs of the committees on justice and unification, have been fast-tracking public hearings about the BBL but two more hearings are scheduled for February 4 and 5 in Jolo and Zamboanga, respectively.
Earlier, Senator Miriam Defensor Santiago, who chairs the Committee on Constitutional amendments, said she is willing to conduct parallel hearings with Marcos' committee so that all issues are resolved and the Senate could pass a doable and sustainable version soon.
Marcos said that, since the last session day is on March 18, he had to refer the constitutional questions to Senator Santiago’s committee so that both committees can hold parallel hearings for the sake of expediency.
However, the Minority Floor leader, Senator Vicente Sotto, questioned why a third committee has to be involved in the BBL.
He suggested that, if the committee on peace and unification is done with its hearings, then one committee must already wind up its work so that the other committee can work with the committee on constitutional amendments.