LA TRINIDAD, Benguet – The passage of the controversial Bangsamoro Basic Law (BBL) in the Senate may go beyond the prescribed deadline on June 11 because of the need to address the constitutional issues raised against the priority administration measure, Senate President Franklin M. Drilon said here Saturday.
Drilon, who was the commencement speaker during the graduation rites of the State-run Benguet State University (BSU) here, admitted the draft BBL submitted by the Palace to Congress for approval has numerous provisions that are inconsistent with the 1987 Constitution that is why amendments will be appropriately introduced during the plenary debates to prevent legal questions in the future.
“We have to fix the language of the BBL in order to conform with the provisions of our Constitution. The BBL will not be approved as submitted because it will just open the floodgates for the filing of legal suits that would derail the gains of the administration on peace and order,” Senator Drilon stressed.
The Senate President agreed to earlier contentions that the BBL judiciary should be under the jurisdiction of the Supreme Court (SC), matters on elections should fall under the Commission on Elections (Comelec), programs and projects related to civil service must be lodged with the Civil Service Commission (CSC) and auditing rules and regulations must be under the sole control of the Commission on Audit (COA).
According to him, the June 11 deadline earlier promised by Congress leaders for the passage of BBL can still be adjusted depending on the pace of the lawmakers on how to deal with the proposed amendments in order to align the BBL provisions with that of the Constitution.
He underscored the importance of BBL in achieving lasting peace in Mindanao and opening greater opportunities for potential investments that would translate to robust economic growth in the area
Senator Drilon emphasized it was the previous consensus among senators that there is a need to introduce important amendments and change the language of certain provisions of the BBL for the establishment of a juridical personality so that those questioning the legitimacy of the proposed law will not question the validity of the measure once signed into law and ready for implementation.
He cited the adjustment of the June 11 deadline to a later date will not significantly affect the putting in place of the BBL juridical personality considering that what is important for the Senate is to make sure that all the BBL provisions are aligned with the Constitution so as not to contribute in the already delayed realization of the BBL for the people of Mindanao.
The senator asserted matters on the BBL electoral process should also be put in place by the House and Senate contingents to the bicameral conference committee once the BBL will be passed upon in order to refine constitutional issues that would be used by the critics of the administration to delay the establishment of the BBL juridical entity.
Drilon claimed the putting in place of the BBL juridical entity in Mindanao will be one of the most significant achievements of the Aquino administration in terms of sustaining lasting peace in the conflict-stricken Mindanao region over the past several decades.
By Dexter A. See