(Updated) MALACAÑANG denied Monday allegations that the Aquino administration distributed money or "payola" to lawmakers to ensure the immediate approval of the proposed Bangsamoro Basic Law (BBL).
"Allegations on BBL 'payola' are baseless and untrue," Presidential Communications Operations Office Secretary Herminio Coloma Jr. told reporters in a text message.
He insisted that the draft BBL was the product of "painstaking process of negotiations and democratic consultations."
Coloma said that the administration's campaign for the bill's enactment was premised on achieving enduring peace and prosperity in Mindanao.
Some legislators also took exception to The Standard report that they received millions of pesos from the Palace to ensure the speedy approval of the draft BBL.
The Palace has been hoping for Congress to pass the bill before lawmakers go on a month-long break starting June 11.
(Video by John Carlo Cahinhinan/Sunnex)
“No money delivered nor received by me last week or at any time for the approval of BBL. This kind of irresponsible reporting and black propaganda should stop,” said Cagayan de Oro City Representative Rufus Rodriguez, chairman of the House ad hoc committee for the proposed BBL.
He said the allegation will not stop him from pushing for the approval of the bill “to achieve lasting peace in the economic development of the (future) Bangsamoro Autonomous Region and Mindanao.”
Dasmariñas City Representative Elpidio Barzaga Jr. promised to resign from the House of Representatives if those who are saying that he was promised P1 million and P50-million projects could show any evidence.
House Majority Floor Leader Neptali Gonzales II meanwhile described the allegation as “absolutely false” and just “fabricated lies.”
“That's very unfair because there's no such thing. Kung minsan, nakakapanghina on the basis of so-called reliability,” he said.
The fund that was allegedly used to bribe lawmakers came from an alleged Chinese crime lord, who has been in the custody of the Bureau of Immigration. (SDR/John Carlo Cahinhinan/Sunnex)