WITH just 17 months left in the term of President Benigno Aquino 3rd, the government is confident that the timetable it set for the passage and eventual implementation of the Bangsamoro Basic Law (BBL) will be followed.
This was the assurance made by Presidential Adviser on the Peace Process Teresita Deles amid the legality issues raised by Sen. Miriam Defensor-Santiago.
“The Senate leadership has assured us that their timetable for passage of the BBL is on track, with arrangements for concerned committees to feed into report of mother committee which is targeted for release by mid-February,” Deles told The Manila Times in a text message.
Santiago, chairperson of the Senate committee on constitutional amendments and revision of codes, said she will raise the legality issues of the BBL when the panel holds its hearings on January 26 and February 2.
Santiago said she wants to hear the views of those who forged the agreement.
Government peace panel chair Miriam Ferrer said the hearing will be “a venue to clarify the principles, concepts and specific provisions introduced in the bill that may have caused both constitutional and political concerns.”
“I believe Senator Miriam shares our basic objective of instituting a progressive autonomous government that will serve as an effective vehicle for good governance, peace and developement in that part of Mindananao,” Ferrer said.
Meanwhile, Palace deputy spokesman Abigail Valte said she hopes the constitutionality issues on the BBL will be settled in Congress.
“In the beginning, I understand that Senator Defensor-Santiago has always been of the position that there are certain things that she believes—that she has a contrary opinion,” she said.
“Hopefully, these questions or positions can be the subject of discussions between her and other lawmakers, as the law is discussed in Congress,” she added.
“We remain hopeful. We understand that there are a number of issues that need to be thoroughly discussed by lawmakers when this reaches the floor.”