We cannot just rubber stamp the draft BBL (Bangsamoro) as it has been given us,” Senator Ferdinand “Bongbong” R. Marcos, Jr. said yesterday.
Marcos made the comment when asked by reporters for his reaction to the letter of MILF (Moro Islamic Liberation Front) Chairman Al Haj Murad Ebrahim to the House ad hoc committee on the BBL, asking Congress to pass BBL without changes.
Marcos, Chairman of the Senate Committee on Local Government, insisted that Congress has the power to amend or revise some BBL provisions which are either ambiguous or constitutionally infirm.
Likewise, he noted that there are areas in the draft BBL which are “left open” for Congress to fill in the details.
"We cannot abandon our function to make sure that at the very least, hopefully more, that any bill we pass in Congress is legal, is constitutional and is enforceable. Those are the same three tests that we will apply to the Bangsamoro Basic Law,” Marcos said.
Among others, Marcos said the lawmakers are grappling with the constitutionality of BBL provisions allowing the Bangsamoro government to have their own counterpart of the Commission on Audit, Commission on Elections, and the Civil Service Commission.
Marcos said he is also looking to clarify, for example, the administration of local government units that would join the Bangsamoro but are not contiguous with the Bangsamoro core territory, as well as the procedure for geographic areas or LGU’s to join or leave the Bangsamoro.
“And then of course, we are still waiting for the final conclusion of the investigations into the Mamasapano massacre,” Marcos said.
Marcos appealed to the MILF to be “open-minded” and be “a little flexible” on the BBL.
“We (lawmakers) are not out to make changes in the BBL just because we like to do so. We would be making changes, amendments, add or delete provisions because in our view, that is the best way to make a more robust and effective law,” Marcos said.
“Let us not forget that our ultimate goal of BBL is for peace in Muslim Mindanao. And we will strive to pass the best BBL as possible so that we would achieve a true and lasting peace in Muslim Mindanao,” he added.