Sen. Bongbong: I’m working overtime to address BBL flaws

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Senator Ferdinand “Bongbong” R. Marcos, Jr. said he is working overtime to finish consultation with major stakeholders on the proposed Bangsamoro Basic Law, not to delay its passage but to address its flaws and enable it to withstand any legal challenges.

“Can you imagine the constitutional infirmities of the BBL, how glaring they are and they still insist, walang papalitan? If we wanted to sabotage the BBL, that is precisely what we would do, hindi naming papalitan. Patay kaagad yan sa Supreme Court,” Marcos told Davao businessmen.

Marcos, Chairman of the Senate Committee on Local Government, made the remark during the open forum after his speech Friday (May 29) at the 5th General Meeting of the Davao City Chamber of Commerce and Industry, Inc. at the Royal Mandaya Hotel in Davao City.

“But that is not our job. Our function as legislators is to make sure that we pass the best possible law that we know to pass. That we know the law that will pass will be constitutional, that will be enforceable and will in fact lead to progress and lead to peace—and that’s what we are doing,” he stressed.

Twelve senators, including Marcos, have signed the committee report of Sen. Miriam Defensor-Santiago, Chairman of the Senate Committee on Constitutional Amendments and Revision of Codes, which called for substantial revision of BBL for it to pass any constitutional challenge.

According to the report, the BBL “fails the two-fold test set by the Constitution: national sovereignty on the one hand; and territorial integrity, on the other hand.”

Marcos said that while initially there were two committees tasked to tackle BBL—his committee and the peace and unification panel—he sought the participation of Santiago’s committee to help clarify the constitutional issues raised against the proposed law.

“Her findings will be adopted as our findings, and therefore we will act upon the problems that have been identified by Sen. Miriam’s committee report,” Marcos said.

Marcos said he is actually doing the work the government panel should have done, and that is to consult prior to the drafting of the BBL major stakeholders like the sultanates, the Moro National Liberation Front, the indigenous people, and the business sector, among others.

And with two more hearings to go, one on June 2 for the business and private sector and on June 3 for the local government chief executives in the core areas of Bangsamoro and adjacent localities, Marcos said it would be difficult for his committee to beat the June 10 deadline Malacanang is pushing for.

“Kaya inaakusahan ngayon ako dine-delay mo. Sabi ko sa mga nagsasabi nyan, na nagdedelay, binigay ko sa kanila ang listahan ng hearing ko. Sabi ko yan ang listahan ng hearing ko, sinong gusto nyong i-cancel dyan? Sino sa palagay nyo hindi mahalaga na kausapin? And of course they could not answer,” he said.

Marcos said he could not understand why the Palace is rushing BBL’s passage as neither the government’s Framework Agreement with the Moro Islamic Liberation Front nor the draft bill calls for such deadline.

He said a matter so important, so complicated and with an effect so far-reaching should not be rushed.

Marcos said he is committed to do his best in addressing the flaws of BBL so the version they will pass would not only pass the constitutional challenges but would also work towards lasting peace and progress in Mindanao.

“Asahan ninyo na gagawin ko ang tama. Tama para sa lahat ng Mindanao. Tama para sa kapayapaan. Tama para sa bansa at tama para sa ating kababayan,” Marcos said.

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