Senator Ferdinand “Bongbong” R. Marcos, Jr., chairman of the Senate Committee on Local Government, today said they will accord due importance to the findings of the Senate Committee on Constitutional Amendment and Revision of Code on the proposed Bangsamoro Basic Law.
News reports said a draft committee report of the constitutional amendment panel, chaired by Sen. Miriam Defensor Santiago being circulated for signature of the panel members concluded Congress cannot pass BBL without corresponding charter changes.
“We will certainly take serious consideration of the warning flags the report has raised,” Marcos said, who acknowledged signing Santiago’s committee report.
Marcos noted that the committee report was based on views expressed by the country’s foremost legal experts who took part in the Senate panel hearings.
“That report practically vindicates the meticulous scrutiny to which I am subjecting the draft BBL. We don’t want to pass the BBL only to have it declared unconstitutional by the Supreme Court later, then we’d be back to square one and all our efforts would be for nothing,” he added.
This is also the reason rushing the passage of the proposed BBL just to meet the June 10 deadline Malacanang has set is irresponsible, according to Marcos.
“As far as I’m concerned, the priority is to get it right,” he said.
At the House of Representatives, the ad hoc committee on the BBL approved on Wednesday the proposed law after three days of at times impassioned arguments, paving the way for plenary deliberation of the measure amid allegations of railroading, a charge the administration denied.
But Marcos noted that this early Buhay party list has warned that as soon as Congress passes BBL, they will challenge it before the Supreme Court.
“Unless we sufficiently address the question of constitutionality, the concerns of all the stakeholders, as well as practical issues of administration and other problematic provisions of BBL, it will surely be challenged before the Supreme Court,” he said.
This is the reason, Marcos said, while he is trying to reaching out to as many of the stake holders as much as possible.
After his recent BBL hearings in Jolt and Zamboanga, Marcos has conducted a hearing in Manila to hear the side of the Moro National Liberation Front, the first Moro group to have signed a peace agreement with the Philippine government. MNLF leaders claim they were left out in the BBL negotiations.
Marcos has scheduled two more hearings, one on May 5 for the sultanates and the indigenous people (IP) of Mindanao, and another on June 3 for local executives in the core area and adjacent localities of the proposed Bangsamoro territory.