Lawmaker tells Palace: Finalize proposed Bangsamoro Basic Law

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Tuesday, June 3, 2014


THE House Independent Minority bloc on Tuesday urged Malacanang to speed up the transmittal of the proposed Bangsamoro Basic Law to Congress.

Leyte Representative Ferdinand Martin Romualdez said the Palace "should not hostage lawmakers" into passing the draft bill without the benefit of strict scrutiny.

"They will give it (draft bill) on a later date and then ipapapaspas iyan na parang impeachment kasi sasabihin pangalan ng Presidente ang nakataya dito kaya kailangang ipasa iyan. Kawawa naman ang leadership, kawawa naman ang congressmen, and then you heap the blame on congressmen for delaying the peace process," Romualdez said in a press conference.

Romualdez said he could not understand why the proposed Bangsamoro Charter is still being evaluated and studied by the Office of the President and the Chief Presidential Legal Counsel when it was already signed last March.

"Bakit pinirmahan pa nila kung kailangang i-review, dapat ipinadaan muna sa amin. Kalokohan na ang ginagawa ng Executive eh, sila lang ang may alam, parating napapasubo tayo sa alanganin," the lawmaker said.

He noted that Congress will adjourn sine die next week and will resume in July during the State of the Nation address (Sona) of President Benigno Aquino III.

"We have to make sure that it is (Bangsamoro bill) consistent with the Constitution and has no legal infirmities. They should not pass a half-baked o hilaw na draft bill. They are the ones delaying the peace process. Ang problema ng Executive laging nagpapa-guwapo at the expense of the House and the Senate. Sobra na iyan, tama na ang sound bite nila, papogi-pogi lang parati, pero iyung mga congressmen bugbog sarado na," Romualdez said.

Last month, House Majority Leader Neptali Gonzales II has urged Malacanang to mark the proposed Bangsamoro Basic Law urgent so that lawmakers can scrutinize the document. However, Romualdez noted that until now, the final draft of the bill has yet to reach Congress.

"Our brothers in the South will become very frustrated with us kasi deadline na, parang dead on arrival na ang bill, that's very unfair," he said.

The proposed law is set to create a new Bangsamoro juridical entity replacing the present Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao.

Romualdez also asked the Palace to address the constitutional questions raised by the Philippine Constitution Association (Philconsa) in the proposed draft Bangsamoro bill.

Philconsa chairman, retired Associate Justice Manuel Lazaro said some provisions of the proposed measure may be unconstitutional.

Lazaro questioned at least six points in the Bangsamoro Basic Law, two of these include the absence of the power of Executive to bind Congress and Judicial departments – unless the Executive believes Congress and Supreme Court (SC) are its lackeys and the proposed wealth sharing as this seems not to be legal and a clear highway robbery.

The Bangsamoro Transition Authority is expected to convene by January 2015 if the proposed law is approved in the plebiscite, and no petitions will be filed before the Supreme Court.

Election of officials of the new Bangsamoro autonomous government will be held to coincide with the national and local polls in 2016. (Sunnex)

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