Allies of President Benigno Aquino 3rd in Congress denied receiving cash in exchange for their vote to pass the Bangsamoro Basic Law (BBL).
Representatives Ben Evardone of Eastern Samar and Edgar Erice of Caloocan City said it is not in the president’s nature to bribe, following reports that each member of the House of Representative got P29 million while each senator was given P50 million in exchange for their favorable vote for the BBL.
“There’s nothing. We didn’t even see the shadow of that amount of money,” Evardone, vice chairman of the House Appropriations panel, said.
“The President is being dragged into intrigues because he is determined to push for the peace process. They are maligning the BBL,” Erice said.
He lamented that such false claims only seek to slander the name of lawmakers who will vote for the passage of the measure.
Aquino had prodded Congress to pass the Bangsamoro bill, warning that lawmakers may end up counting body bags if the measure is not passed.
Opposition lawmakers earlier said the convening of a peace council will not guarantee the passage of the BBL because the people no longer trust the president and the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) following the killing of 44 police commandos by MILF fighters in Maguindanao in January.
Rep. Ferdinand Martin Romualdez said the fate of the BBL depends on Congress and ultimately, the Supreme Court, which will rule on its legality.
Former Speaker Jose de Venecia also said four key provisions of the draft BBL which critics deemed unconstitutional should be revised or removed if its proponents want the framework agreement to move forward.
“The BBL needs to be revised or removed for running counter to the Constitution, otherwise, the Supreme Court will simply strike it down,” de Venecia told reporters during the launch of Turkish Airline at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport on Monday night.
De Venecia said the four key provisions are the creation of constitutional bodies, funding for the Bangsamoro region, the justice system and the creation of a regional police command.