Insisting that Malacañang’s version of the Bangsamoro Basic Law (BBL) will not bring the country any closer to peace, Sen. Ferdinand Marcos Jr. on Wednesday said he will be presenting a substitute bill that will be for the good of all.
Addressing Benigno Aquino 3rd, Marcos said, “Mr. President, I cannot support the BBL in its present form. May inihahanda akong kapalit nito na makabubuti sa lahat [I am readying a replacement for it that will benefit everybody],” Marcos said in his privileged speech.
Although maintaining that he shares “our people’s thirst for peace,” the senator added that he could not accept the current draft BBL as it is full of questionable provisions.
The chairman of the local government committee in the Senate, he said the draft BBL will lead the country to perdition.
“Armed conflict will ensue. Blood will be shed. And when blood is shed, it will not distinguish between right and wrong; between young and old, neither between men and women, nor soldiers or rebels, combatants and civilians, rich, poor, Muslims, Christians. Nobody wins. Everybody loses,” the senator explained.
Marcos, citing the committee report of Sen. Miriam Defensor-Santiago, who heads the Senate Committee on Constitutional Amendments and Revision of Codes, said the draft BBL is riddled with constitutional infirmities.
The draft BBL, according to him, seeks to create a sovereign state within the Bangsamoro territory and within the territory of the Republic of the Philippines, or a state within a state.
Other provisions that Marcos said run counter to the Constitution are those providing for a parliamentary form of government within a presidential form of government; imposing limitations to the power of the Philippine Congress; giving exclusive powers to the Bangsamoro that will diminish sovereignty of the Republic; and seeking creation of a “Bangsamoro territory.”
He reiterated his earlier statements that he will resist any effort to railroad approval of the BBL.
Marcos said the BBL will not be able to achieve its goal unless all the stakeholders have their inputs on it and their concerns addressed.
According to him, major stakeholders–Sultanate of Sulu, Moro National Liberation Front, indigenous peoples, Christians, local government units and business–were not consulted while the proposal was being drafted by the government and the Moro Islamic Liberation Front, whose peace pact with the government was to be embodied by the BBL.
He paid tribute to the 44 Special Action Force commandos whose death in the hands of Muslim rebels, including MILF members, last January triggered the public’s full attention to the BBL.