LEGAZPI CITY, Albay: President Benigno Aquino 3rd’s plea for Congress to pass the proposed Bangsamoro Basic Law (BBL) is a flight of fancy as majority of the senators will not approve it, according to Sen. Francis Escudero.
“Definitely, the BBL will not be passed in the Senate, unless the Moro Islamic Liberation Front’s [MILF] desires to have its own Judicial and Bar Council, Commission on Elections and Commission on Audit will be scrapped and watered-down,” he told The Manila Times.
The Bicolano senator said the BBL will not guarantee peace in the entire Mindanao region as there are excluded factions opposing the measure.
“The BBL will not guarantee peace in Mindanao because only the MILF will enjoy it but not the whole region,” he added.
The Senate and the House of Representatives shelved their respective BBL deliberations shortly after the massacre of 44 police commandos by MILF fighters and members of other rebel groups in Mamasapano, Maguindanao, on January 25.
The proposed Bangsamoro Basic Law, now House Bill 4994, was submitted to Congress shortly after much-covered ceremonies held in Malacañang on September 10, 2014. Secretary Teresita Quintos Deles described the event as a turning point in the nation’s quest for peace in the war-torn region of Mindanao.
President Aquino asked Congress to quickly pass the bill. Once Congress passes the bill and the BBL is signed into law, a plebiscite among the people of the Bangsamoro region will follow.
Escudero said the Senate will never approve the proposed bill because the MILF wants to become so powerful in its turf that even the Supreme Court could not review decisions handed down by the Shariah Court.
“The President wants peace in Mindanao but majority of his political allies in the Senate overwhelmingly oppose the BBL because that will only benefit the MILF,” he added.
Escudero questioned the budget for the BBL.
“Imagine the allocation [for the BBL]is P75 billion, which is bigger than the Philippine National Police budget of only P70 billion. The PNP covers the entire country, while the BBL, with its P75 billion, is only for Mindanao,” he said.