Malacañang on Monday shot down proposals by legislators that the plebiscite for the Bangsamoro Basic Law be made nationwide, stressing that it would violate the Constitution.
Palace spokesperson Edwin Lacierda, in a text message to reporters, cited Article X, Section 18 of the 1987 Charter which provides that the creation of the autonomous region shall only be effective via a majority vote of its own “constituents.”
“Constituent units refer to the areas [provinces, cities, and geographic areas] covered by what will comprise the Autonomous Region,” he said.
“1987 Constitution, Art. X, Sec. 18, 2nd paragraph provides that the creation of the Autonomous Region shall be effective when approved by a majority of the votes cast by the constituent units in a plebiscite called for the purpose, provided that only provinces, cities, and geographic areas voting favorably in such plebiscite shall be included in the Autonomous Region,’” Lacierda stressed.
Senators Francis Escudero and Ralph Recto had pushed for a nationwide plebiscite, noting that the Bangsamoro political entity will be receiving billions from the national government.
The Senate Committee on Local Government resumed its hearings on the proposed BBL on Monday after two months of suspension as a result of the bloody Mamasapano clash that killed 44 police commandos.
Recto had pointed out that various allotments for the Bangsamoro region will be automatically appropriated, thus, these will not be scrutinized in Congress.
Citing data from the Department of Budget and Management, the senator said the Bangsamoro region will receive some P73.7 billion in 2016; P82.5 billion in 2017; P91.6 billion in 2018; P99.4 billion in 2019; and P111.4 billion in 2020.
Under the proposed BBL, only select areas, including those in the present ARMM, will take part in the plebiscite after the measure is passed.