Davao City Mayor Rodrigo Duterte is urging Congress to pass the proposed Bangsamoro Basic Law (BBL) but not until provisions granting the new autonomous region authority to form separate armed forces and police are stricken out.
“Giving the Bangsamoro the full control of the military and police is dangerous,” he told an assembly of Rotarians on Wednesday night at the Century Park Hotel in Manila.
The mayor elaborated more on his position on Thursday morning as he addressed officers and members of the Association of Generals and Flag Officers (AGFO) at Camp Aguinaldo in Quezon City.
“I will make on record that there are already, [the]BBL [contains]provisions [that are]objectionable, meaning [they are]not allowed under the Constitution,” he said.
“I will state my objection now to the BBL at this time. [I would not agree if the BBL allowed] an armed forces component that will be controlled by the [Bangsamoro] government,” Duterte told reporters at the sidelines of the AGFO Fellowship Meeting.
“Hindi ako papayag na yung police force nila independent of the PNP [I would also not agree if the Bangsamoro police were independent of the Philippine National Police]. It’s a violation of law,” he said.
Duterte, however, clarified that except for the aforementioned provisions, he has no problem with the BBL.
The House of Representatives is expected to start deliberations on the BBL when it resumes session after the Holy Week break next month.
“The Ad Hoc Committee on the Bangsamoro Basic Law will resume its executive sessions during the recess on April 6 and continue until the 16th,” Cagayan de Oro Rep. Rufus Rodriguez, panel chairman, said also on Thursday in a letter sent to resource persons invited to the deliberations.
Among those invited were Defense Secretary Voltaire Gazmin, Interior Secretary Manuel Roxas 2nd, military chief Gen. Gregorio Pio Catapang Jr., acting PNP chief and Deputy Director-General Leonardo Espina and Director Benjamin Magalong of the PNP Criminal Investigation and Detection Group.
Magalong is also chairman of a police board that investigated the January 25 Mamasapano incident, which left dead 44 police commandos.
WITH LLANESCA T. PANTI