The senator, who is the head of the Senate Committee on Local Government, said crafting a law that would address the Mindanao conflict could take all the time to ensure that whatever political solution to the decades-old conflict would be constitutional, provide genuine autonomy, and strengthen checks and balances.
Marcos who was the guest at the Mindanao Vice Mayor’s League Conference yesterday, however, acknowledged that the administration of President Benigno Simeon Aquino III wants the law passed before his term ends next year.
“But like the MILF who acknowledged the possibility of failing to have a final peace pact with the government in this administration, I too think that if we cannot make it in this administration, maybe in the next… maybe in the 20 years,” Marcos said.
Marcos said their critical stance on the proposed law should not be construed as anti-peace, anti-moro or even anti-BBL.
“If we are anti-BBL, we will pass the proposed law as submitted to us by the Malacañang, but the minute it is passed, we questioned it before the Supreme Court,” he added.
Taking a snipe at the government peace negotiators with the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF), Marcos said that Mohaqher Iqbal, the MILF’s chief peace negotiator “is very good. I would want to have him in my side in negotiations.”
The problem however lies with the government peace panel that he believes “seemed to have lost perspective and needs to be reminded they are not working with the MILF.”
Zamboanga Rep. Celso Lobregat who was also a guest speaker of the gathering of Mindanao vice governors seemed to have found an ally in senator Marcos. He acknowledged that some revisions he wanted to be included in the House of Representative’s version of the BBL found its way in the substitute bill filed by Marcos in the Senate last August 10. He delivered his sponsorship speech last Tuesday with some cause-oriented groups holding a rally outside the Senate, branding him as anti-peace and anti-Moro.
The Office of the Presidential Adviser on the Peace Process (Opapp) was elated by the filing of the BBL by Marcos at the Senate, after long deliberations at the Committee on Local Governments the senator chairs.