CONGRESSMEN belonging to the ad hoc panel that reviewed the draft Bangsamoro Basic Law (BBL) on Tuesday voted down a motion to reinstate a provision on appointment of a Wali or titular head of the proposed Bangsamoro region.
The motion to reinstate the wali provision in the draft law was rejected, 22-15.
Cagayan de Oro City Rep. Rufus Rodriguez, the committee chairman, said there was no need for such a ceremonial position Besides, he added, the provision was unconstitutional
as it was a characteristic of a sub-state.
“We can’t have something similar to a king or a queen. There’s no need for a Wali with ceremonial functions,” Rodriguez, former dean and political law professor of the San Sebastian College of Law, said.
Under House Bill 4994 or the proposed BBL, the Wali is “the titular head of Bangsamoro” and will “take on only ceremonial functions.”
The proposed Wali position would be under the supervision of the President of the Philipines and will have a term of six years after the first appointe, who will have a term of three years.
Under the original proposal, the Bangsamoro parliament will choose the Wali from among eminent residents of the Bangsamoro nominated by the Council of Leaders.
The Wali’s appointment would then be made via a resolution passed by the Bangsamoro parliament.
The first Wali would be appointed by the Bangsamoro Transition Authority (BTA).
ACT Teachers party-list Rep. Antonio Tinio, who pushed for the retention of the Wali provision, argued that the provision was endorsed by the Organization of Islamic Cooperation, which sees the post as similar to that of a provincial governor.
Rodriguez, however, was firm on his stand on the issue.
“What we will have is a Bangsamoro Autonomous Region. We have to make sure that we won’t make an impression that it is a sub-state. Having a wali as a titular head is like being England, a monarchy with a King and Queen but is led by a Prime Minister. It can’t be that way because a King and a Queen [are]for a sovereign country, not autonomy,” he said.
“We cannot have a king and queen in the Bangsamoro. There is no need for that. They [residents of the Bangsamoro region]will be ruled by the Chief Minister who heads the Bangsamoro Parliament, period,” Rodriguez added.