Malacañan stands firm in its commitment to pass BBL

  • Sunday, Jun 21 2015
  • Written by  Arland Abubakkar

Communications Secretary Hermino Coloma, Jr. said yesterday (June 20) that Malacañan is standing firm in its commitment to pass the Bangsamoro Basic Law (BBL) within the term of President Aquino.

The statement came following an advice by Father Jose Collin Bagaforo of Cotabato City to let the next administration push for the passage of the BBL.

Coloma said there are reasons the Aquino administration is pushing for the BBL within its term and should rush the passage of the proposed law.

“Deka-dekada na po ang binibilang natin na panahon na kung saan ay hindi po nagkaroon ng matibay na batayan para sa katahimikan sa Mindanao [We have been counting decades of restiveness in Mindanao],” Coloma said.

“Kaya mayroon po tayong sense of urgency hinggil diyan at ‘yan lang naman ang dahilan kung bakit desidido si Pangulong Aquino na maisulong ‘yung prosesong pangkapayapaan sa loob ng kanyang panunungkulan [That is why there is a sense of urgency on passing the BBL and it is also the reason President Aquino is decided to push for the peace process within his term],” he said.

All angles were considered in crafting the BB, Coloma said.

“Lahat po ng anggulo, lahat ng aspeto na patungkol sa pagtalima sa Konstitusyon ay masusing pinag-aralan at patuloy pa rin po itong pinag-aaralan [All angles and all aspects toward ensuring its constitutionality have been thoroughly reviewed and it is continuously being studied],” Coloma said.

He also noted that both the authors of the 1987 Constitution and the National Peace Council led by former Chief Justice Hilario Davide believe that the proposed BBL does not violate any provisions under the 1987 Constitution.

“Ganunpaman, kinikilala po natin na ang ating mga mambabatas ay mayroong tungkulin na tiyakin din ‘yung constitutionality ng lahat ng batas na kanilang ipinapasa, kaya iginagalang po naman natin lahat ng kanilang pagsisikap sa aspetong ito [However, we also acknowledge that our lawmakers have the mandate to ensure its constitutionality and we respect their efforts on this aspect],” Coloma said.

The Palace had said that the BBL is the best option for peace and development in Mindanao, as it shunned the idea of going back to war.

At the House of Representatives, Speaker Feliciano Belmonte Jr. urged the Supreme Court to allow Congress to pass first the final form of the peace measure before deciding on the petitions seeking to declare unconstitutional two agreements signed between the Philippine government and the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) that allows the creation of a Bangsamoro government.

He issued the call in the wake of the filing of the two petitions challenging the Framework Agreement on the Bangsamoro (FAB) and the Comprehensive Agreement on the Bangsamoro (CAB) before the Supreme Court.

But Belmonte, who is confident Congress can come up with a legally-accepted BBL, said the petitions will not dampen the Lower Chamber’s commitment to pass a peace measure which is within the ambit of the Constitution.

“This will not affect our commitment, slow down our efforts to pass the BBL. We are acting in good faith with the objective of bringing peace to our land,” he said.

Believing that the petitions filed by the Philippine Constitution Association (Philconsa) and by former Negros Oriental Rep. Jacinto Paras were “premature,” Belmonte, a lawyer said, it would be better for the SC to wait for the Congress-approved BBL before deciding on petitions to declare CAB and FAB unconstitutional.

“The Supreme Court can make its rulings when the agreement has reached a definite form, not when they are still being debated or amended. Otherwise they would be preempting the Congress,” he said.

He expressed confidence that the BBL can still be passed this 16th Congress.

Cagayan de Oro Rep. Rufus Rodriguez, chairman of the House Ad Hoc Committee on the proposed BBL, expressed confidence that the SC will rule in favor of the proposed creation of the Bangsamoro juridical entity, saying that the plenary deliberations on the peace measure will push through in August.

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