By Arjay L. Balinbin, Reporter
MALACAÑANG ON Thursday said it is “hoping” that lawmakers will “exert all efforts” to ensure that the proposed Bangsamoro Basic Law (BBL) will withstand judicial scrutiny.
“We are pleased that both Houses of Congress agreed to come up with a final version of the bill during the break. We are very pleased that they are aiming that the President can sign the final BBL on the day of the State of the Nation Address (SONA) itself,” Presidential Spokesperson Harry L. Roque, Jr. said in a press briefing at the Palace on Thursday morning.
He added: “We are hoping that, you know, Congressmen will also exert all efforts to make sure that this BBL will withstand judicial scrutiny, having learned already from the lessons of the earlier MoA-AD.”
The spokesman was referring to the Memorandum of Agreement on Ancestral Domain (MoA-AD) which the Supreme Court declared unconstitutional in 2008. The 89-page decision penned by then Associate Justice Conchita Carpio-Morales said: “The furtive process by which the MoA-AD was designed and crafted runs contrary to and in excess of the legal authority, and amounts to a whimsical, capricious, oppressive, arbitrary and despotic exercise thereof.” Mr. Roque reiterated as well that President Rodrigo R. Duterte is not in favor of the establishment of the Bangsamoro Armed Forces under the proposed law.
“The President decided that we cannot have a separate Bangsamoro police or separate Bangsamoro Armed Forces that the Bangsamoro Transition Commission (BTC) proposes. That is his bare minimum requirement,” he said.
He stressed that the Chief Executive is hoping that Congress will come up with a BBL version “that is acceptable to all” stakeholders.
“But please, understand that we do not know what they will agree upon in the Bicameral Conference Committee,” he added.
Also on Tuesday, Moro Islamic Liberation Front leader Ghazali Jaafar said in an interview with ANC: “Gusto namin yung mga proposal namin diyan sa BBL maipasok yan lahat, kung hindi man buo at least yung kalalabasan ng BBL (We want our proposals to be included in the final BBL, if not all at least) it will not be diluted, it will not be watered down or inutile because we are afraid that… it will not be accepted by the people on the ground. This will be a problem for us.”
Mr. Jaafar, the group’s vice-chairman for political affairs, also opposed a provision on the BBL for a single plebiscite on inclusion in the proposed autonomous region.
“It is very hard for us to accept but as I said, the process is not yet finished. We are still engaged,” he told ANC. — with Dane Angelo M. Enerio