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OpinYon - BBL’s Fate Hangs

News & Interviews
12 May 2015

By El Cid Benedicto | OpinYon
“OpinYon”There seems to be efforts to fast track the Congress’ deliberations on the proposed Bangsamoro Basic Law (BBL), ensuring its passage before the lawmakers adjourn sine die on June 11.

Days before the resumption of Congress’ regular sessions last Monday, no less than Senate President Franklin Drilon has been at the forefront of the BBL, wrapping up its proceedings and public hearings in two weeks’ time.

The BBL, Sen. Drilon stressed, is at the top of the Senate’s agenda and the upper chamber would work for the passage of this key legislation even as they anticipate this early protracted and intense debates on the floor.

Originally, there was no scheduled public hearing on the BBL at the Senate this week but apparently, there was a last-minute arrangement made a day before the May 5 proceedings, coinciding with the Blue Ribbon sub-committee inquiry on the allegations against Vice President Jejomar Binay.

Sources said it was Drilon who asked the camp of Sen. Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr., who chairs the committee on local government, to hold a hearing on the BBL after the Citizen’s People Council turns over to them a copy of their report on their review on the BBL.

Sen. Drilon boasted what Sen. Marcos told him that the Senate committee is prepared to have hearings in about two weeks time to enable them enough time in debating on the panel report before their adjournment.

Sen. Marcos, after hearing the thoughts of the council members, had a change of heart on the assurance he gave to the Senate chief as to the timeline of the approval of the BBL.

“The question there is what will happen in the plenary level because kahit na matapos kami before June, kung mahaba ang magiging debate, then that will determine exactly when we will finish. It is hard to say, mahirap magsabi although I have spoken to the other senators and of course they have expressed interest in making their own comments and propose their own amendments” Marcos said.

“Again, it’s impossible to say how long that process will take. So we will just go through it, we will go to it in detail, we will not leave any issue unexamined and I’m sure at the end of it, we will have a version that will assure all the stakeholders and I suppose that includes the entire Philippines that we have a workable version of the BBL,” he said.

As of this writing, Sen. Marcos has scheduled a marathon public hearing in Sulu on May 13 and in Zamboanga City on May 14.