Romualdez: Draft BBL dead
Palace exerting pressure on lawmakers won’t work
HOUSE independent bloc leader and Leyte (1st District) Rep. Martin Romualdez said he was aiming for peace in Mindanao but maintained that there should be no pressure from Malacañang to pass the proposed Bangsamoro Basic Law.
At the same time, Romualdez said that the filing of charges against 90 members of Moro Islamic Liberation Front, Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters and private armed groups in connection with the Mamasapano massacre would not help speed up the passing of the BBL in the House.
“The filing of charges won’t help salvage the passage of the bill. What is important now is justice for the victims and survivors of the Mamasapano carnage eight months ago,” said Romualdez.
The Leyte lawmaker conceded that BBL is dead due to lack of material time.
“The BBL must be constitutionally-compliant, otherwise we are just giving people false hopes,” said Romualdez as he stressed that the BBL should not be passed without allowing lawmakers to further review, study and scrutinize the peace measure.
The House of Representatives ended recently its session allotted for the approval of vital measures as the two-week marathon sessions that will begin next week are exclusively devoted for the passage of the P3.002-trillion General Appropriations Bill.
“The peace process is always an issue of trust. Congress should not be threatened. All of us here support peace, but we need sincerity to end the armed conflict and ensure that we will pass a constitutional and not a half-baked BBL,” said Romualdez, a lawyer and president of the Philippine Constitution Association.
House Bill No. 5811, which is in substitution for HB 4994 (An Act Providing Basic Law for Bangsamoro Autonomous Region), is still in the period of interpellation. The measure seeks the abolition of the present Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao and the creation of a more autonomous Bangsamoro region.
Originally, the House of Representatives eyed the passage of the measure on third and final reading last Sept. 20 or before the proposed GAB for next year reaches the plenary.
Romualdez said the new December 2015 deadline set by Malacañang for the BBL’s passage was an admission that the Aquino administration could no longer have the measure approved.
Romualdez made the statement even as The National Anti-Poverty Commission recently urged the leaders of the Lower House and the Senate to ensure the passage of a BBL that conforms to the Comprehensive Agreement on the Bangsamoro and the Constitution.
“Lawmakers need more time to study the BBL because we want to guarantee that what we would be passing will be legal and compliant with every provision of the 1987 Constitution,” Romualdez concluded.