THE Senate is conducting hearings and consulting all stakeholders on the proposed Bangsamoro Basic Law (BBL) in its bid to rectify flaws in the measure submitted by Malacanang, Sen. Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr. said on Sunday.
According to him, there are constitutional infirmities in the BBL bill that need to be addressed to make it withstand any legal challenge.
Marcos, the chairman of the Senate Committee on Local Government, said his panel is consulting all concerned groups not to delay the passage of the bill but to get inputs from concerned parties.
The senator added that he is working overtime to finish consultations with major stakeholders in his bid to address the flaws in the draft bill so that it can pass scrutiny once its constitutionality is challenged at the Supreme Court (SC).
“Can you imagine the constitutional infirmities of the BBL, how glaring they are and they still insist, walang papalitan [no provision should be changed]? If we wanted to sabotage the BBL, that is precisely what we would do, we will not change or amend it. Patay kaagad yan sa [It will be killed at the] Supreme Court,” Marcos said.
He added that the Senate is committed to perform its duty and make sure that it will approve a measure that is constitutional and enforceable and will lead to progress and peace.
Marcos’ committee has two more hearings to conduct before it starts writing its version of the BBL. The report will be introduced and defended later in plenary.
On June 2, the committee will be getting inputs of the business and private sectors and on June 3, the panel will meet with local government officials in the core areas of Bangsamoro and adjacent localities.
Marcos has also reached out to other affected sectors, which the government peace panel failed to consult during the crafting of the Comprehensive Agreement on the Bangsamoro (CAB) and the BBL such as indigenous peoples and sultanates.
But Sen. Sergio Osmena 3rd believes that the BBL will not be implemented under the term of President Benigno Aquino 3rd.
Osmena said the local government committee should conduct more hearings in order to effectively address legal issues in the measure.
“We are conducting hearings to clarify all doubts on the law, because these issues will eat a lot of time during plenary debates if we will not address these at the committee level.” he explained.
Even if the bill is passed on the third and final reading, it will be tackled by the bicameral conference committee to reconcile conflicting provisions in respective versions of the two houses of Congress. This process, according to Osmena, will not be swift.
Twelve senators, including Marcos, have signed the committee report of Sen. Miriam Defensor-Santiago, chairman of the Senate Committee on Constitutional Amendments and Revision of Codes, which called for substantial revisions of the BBL bill.
According to the report, the BBL “fails the two-fold test set by the Constitution: national sovereignty and territorial integrity.”
Marcos said his committee will act upon the problems that have been identified by Santiago.