GMA News Online – Bongbong: Alternative BBL an ‘improvement’ of Palace version, not a new bill

By Xianne Arcangel | GMA News Online

gmanewsonline_logoSenator Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr. on Monday said the alternative measure he is drafting to replace the proposed Bangsamoro Basic Law (BBL) is not an entirely new bill but an improvement of the version that Malacañang submitted to Congress.

Despite finding alleged constitutional infirmities in Malacañang’s version of the proposed BBL, Marcos, chair of the Senate committee on local government, said he is using the original measure as the framework for his substitute bill.

“Many sectors are alarmed by the term ‘substitute bill.’ But it doesn’t mean that I’ll be creating an entirely new bill! We’ll still use the original bill as the framework,” the senator explained.

The substitute BBL bill I have in mind simply means it has one or more new provisions which are not contained in the original bill,” he added.

Marcos said he plans to present the substitute measure to the Senate soon after Congress resumes sessions on July 27.

The proposed BBL seeks to formalize the creation of a new political entity that will replace the existing Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao. It was a product of the comprehensive peace pact signed by the government and Moro Islamic Liberation Front last year.

The Bangsamoro bill has been languishing at the committee level at the Senate while its counterpart measure in the House is under the period of interpellation.

Several peace advocacy groups criticized Marcos earlier this month after he announced his plan to draft an alternative Bangsamoro bill because he cannot support Malacañang’s version of the BBL, which he claims is riddled with questionable provisions.

A coalition of 32 pro-peace groups called Marcos’ plan to draft an entirely new version of the BBL as indicative of the “depths of megalomania he is capable of and the utter disregard he has for all government institutions and peace process.”

In response, Marcos said several provisions in the proposed law need to be changed because they are unconstitutional.

Among the supposedly questionable provisions the senator has identified include the clause providing for a parliamentary and ministerial form of government for the new Bangsamoro region, and the grant of certain powers reserved for the national government to the Bangsamoro government.

“My objective in passing the BBL is that it will succeed if it’s challenged before the Supreme Court, unlike the MOA-AD (Memorandum of Agreement on Ancestral Domain),” he said.

The MOA-AD, an executive agreement signed by the government and the MILF during the term of President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo was eventually declared unconstitutional by the Supreme Court on October 14, 2008.

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