• Palace fails to submit draft Bangsamoro bill

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    Malacañang is yet to submit to Congress the draft bill for the Bangsamoro Basic Law as executive review of the proposed measure continues.

    But Palace spokesman Edwin Lacierda on Monday maintained that the draft bill remains on track to be approved before the end of the year, as earlier scheduled.

    “The Bangsamoro Basic Law will be evaluated and studied by the Office of the President together with the [Chief Presidential Legal Counsel]. It would be certified by the President upon submission,” Lacierda told reporters in a news conference.

    The basic law, submitted to Malacanang on April 14 by the Bangsamoro Transition Commission, is the enacting law of the final peace pact between the Philippine government and the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF).

    The draft bill was supposed to be submitted to the legislative on May 5 but a month has passed and Congress, which will adjourn on June 13, is yet to receive its copy.

    When asked why it was taking Malacanang too long to submit the bill, Lacierda said President Aquino’s legal team is going through “each and every provision just to be sure.”

    He added that the proposed measure should be “in sync” with all the agreements made by the two parties.

    “We are here to review that it complies with the provision of the CAB [Comprehensive Agreement on the Bangsamoro]. We’re also making sure that it will stand judicial scrutiny,” Lacierda said

    The Palace official gave assurances that the draft bill would not be watered down.

    “We can assure [MILF] Chairman [Mohagher] Iqbal that the Bangsamoro Basic bill will reflect the Comprehensive Agreement on the Bangsamoro and its annexes,” he said.

    Once enacted, the Bangsamoro basic law will serve as the basis for the creation of the Bangsamoro political entity, which will replace the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao.

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