By Joel M. Sy Egco | The Manila Times
THE killing of 44 elite police commandos by separatists from the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) on January 25 in Mamasapano town in Maguindanao province will likely snag the approval of the draft Bangsamoro Basic Law (BBL) in Congress as inquiries into the “massacre” will further push back the deadline earlier set for its passage.
In fact, Sen. Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr. on Thursday disclosed that some of his colleagues have already withdrawn support to the BBL over the carnage.
He said the incident only showed the “infirmities” and “imperfections” of the draft measure that will be the basis for the establishment of the Bangsamoro political entity to replace the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM).
“The truth about that incident is central and fundamental to the BBL . . . we may have to amend or enter new provisions in the proposal. These can only be done after the truth to what happened has been known,” Marcos told the Meet the Press Forum at the National Press Club in Intramuros, Manila.
The lawmaker, who heads the Senate Committee on Local Government where the BBL is being deliberated, said the “window” to pass the measure has been “narrowing,” adding that the executive branch was at least five months late in forwarding the draft to the Senate.
Worse, Marcos claimed that upon consultation with the Commission on Elections, he was informed that it would take the poll body eight months after the signing into law of the BBL to prepare for the plebiscite.
“But this is until all legal questions have been answered. I know that once the BBL is passed into law, it will be immediately questioned before the Supreme Court. We have to factor that in. The time that will be consumed,” he also told the forum.
Besides, the senator said, even the Bangsamoro Transition Commission, the body designated to formulate the BBL, has argued that to come up with a “complete” formula, they would need three years to firm up the plan.
Marcos, who wore a black armband in support of the victims’ families, noted that Sunday’s incident “ is the worst thing that could happen to the BBL.”
Meanwhile, Marcos claimed that “morale is low” in the both the Armed Forces of the Philippines and the Philippine National Police.
He asked those who have anything to share about the incident to come out.