‘BBL will die in high court’
THE Palace-drafted Bangsamoro Basic Law will quickly die at the Supreme Court if not amended, Senator Ferdinand Marcos Jr. warned on Sunday even as he rejected the accusations he is delaying its passage.
“Can you imagine the constitutional infirmities of the BBL, how glaring they are and they still insist nothing will be changed?” said Marcos, chairman of the Senate’s local government committee that is tackling the proposed BBL.
He made his statement even as Senator Sergio Osmeña III said Marcos and the other senators participating in the hearing on the BBL had no political agenda.
He replied in the negative when asked if he saw the BBL being used by the senators eying higher positions in the May 2016 elections.
“No, no, no. They’re doing their job and they’re doing a very good job,” Osmeña said.
House Speaker Feliciano Belmonte Jr. earlier criticized Marcos and Senator Francis Escudero for suggesting that the two chambers of Congress were headed for a clash as a result of their versions of the BBL.
Speaking during the open forum after delivering a speech at the 5th General Meeting of the Davao City Chamber of Commerce and Industry in Davao City, Marcos said that if they wanted to sabotage the BBL, they would not change it.
“That is precisely what we will do. We will not change it. It will immediately be dead in the Supreme Court, but that is not our job” Marcos said.
He said their jobs as legislators was to ensure the passage of the best possible law, and that meant the proposed BBL should be constitutional, enforceable and would lead to progress and peace.
“And that’s what we are doing,” said Marcos of the BBL, which was declared “unconstitutional” by the Senate committee on constitutional amendments and revision of codes led by Senator Miriam Defensor-Santiago.
The committee, signed by 12 out of its 14 members, called for a substantial revision of the BBL to pass any constitutional challenge.
The committee’s report noted that the BBL “fails the two-fold test set by the Constitution: national sovereignty on the one hand and territorial integrity on the other hand.”
Marcos said he was working overtime to finish his consultations with the major stakeholders on the BBL but not to delay its passage but to address its flaws and enable it to withstand any legal challenges.
He denied delaying the BBL and Osmeña agreed, citing the need for the Marcos committee to conduct more public hearings to clarify the questionable provisions.
“We need to debate on the BBL. We need to revise, amend, or delete [some provisions...],” Osmeña said.
“We all want and pray for peace in Mindanao and between Christians and Muslims in the Filipino-Muslim Mindanao region. Everybody is working to achieve peace.”