Palace lawyers to review Bangsamoro draft bill

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A battery of seasoned government lawyers will go through the draft of the Bangsamoro Basic Law with a fine-tooth comb to ensure it will stand legal scrutiny for congressional approval or any challenge raised at the Supreme Court (SC).

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The Bangsamoro Transition Commission (BTC) headed by Mohaqer Iqbal submitted the draft measure to the Office of the President (OP) on Monday afternoon, according to Malacañang Deputy Spokesperson Abigail Valte.

Undersecretary Mike Musngi officially received the draft.

Once in the hands of Malacañang lawyers, the measure will be subjected to a thorough review to look for any infirmities in it, Valte said.

“So after internal process checks in the BTC, it would undergo a review at the Office of the President, mainly by the Office of Deputy Executive Secretary for Legal Affairs Michael Aguinaldo,” the Palace official explained.

The legal team will be composed of Chief Presidential Legal Counsel Secretary Benjamin Caguioa, “as well as other legal minds in the executive branch of government.”

“Undergoing these internal processes and reviews would ensure that more or less it would have solid legal footing, if and when it is challenged at the Supreme Court,” Valte said.

“I understand also that the Office of the Solicitor General will be lending their help on this matter,” she added.

With such close scrutiny, the Palace hopes there will be no legal obstacles to the approval of the Bangsamoro law. Some groups have already made known their intention to challenge the measure once it was passed.

Valte said the government and the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) panels are aware of the risks.

“Both panels in their negotiations have already had that in mind, knowing that anything that would come out of their negotiations would be challenged. They have made sure that they had the proper legal guidance while it was being crafted and that it would stand scrutiny,” she added.

The BTC was supposed to submit the draft bill last month after the signing of the Comprehensive Agreement on the Bangsamoro on March 27. The body, however, asked for more time to fine-tune the measure.

Meanwhile, the BTC expressed hopes that the Congress will give its nod to the creation of the new political entity for Muslims in southern Philippines.

“We are looking for a smooth debate and eventual approval of the bill that will define the outcome of the government and Moro rebel peace negotiations,” Iqbal, also chief negotiator of the MILF, said.

The BTC is composed of seven representatives from the government and eight representatives from the MILF. The panel held a series of consultations with all sectors in the proposed Bangsamoro entity that will be composed of the provinces of the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao as core area and four towns and 39 villages outside the region.

President Benigno Aquino 3rd is expected to certify the measure as urgent.

Iqbal said the proposed law is open to revisions by Malacañang.

Malacañang hopes to have the law ratified by the end of the year or the first quarter of 2015.

With PNA

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1 Comment

  1. Bruce Catlin on

    Bottom line: the Executive branch does not have constitutional authority to grant quasi independence of a large geographical section of the nation.