HOUSE Majority Leader Rodolfo Fariñas confirmed on Wednesday, July 11, 2018 that they were going to meet with the President to discuss the contentious issues in the Senate and the House of Representatives' respective versions of the proposed Bangsamoro Basic Law.
"The leaders of Congress will discuss personally with the President (since it is inappropriate for us to let him attend our BiCam meeting), about the security implications of certain matters in the CAB (Comprehensive Agreement on the Bangsamoro) since such was entered into by the Executive Department," Fariñas said.
The Bicameral Conference Committee chaired by Fariñas and Senate Majority Leader Juan Miguel Zubiri is on its third day of deliberations on Senate Bill 1717 and House Bill 5475.
It is with high hopes that we welcome this news as the President, being a Mindanaoan is well-versed about the conflict in the way that those from Luzon will never understand not unless they sit down to listen and be lectured on (and we expect them to be lectured on long and hard).
Aside from being well-versed about the Moro conflict, President Rodrigo Duterte has long proven to be an astute lawyer who understands the Constitution and laws of the land well. He is a well of knowledge, if only the congressmen will indeed listen.
Meanwhile, Fariñas earlier said that the Senate has dropped the anti-political dynasty provision in its version of the BBL when congressmen cited flaws in the provision that violates the equal protection clause of the Constitution.
Section 15, Article VII, of Senate Bill 1717, states that no party representative should be related within the second civil degree of consanguinity or affinity to a District Representative or another Party Representative in the same Parliament.
As Fariñas explained, this provision applies only to a party representative but not to a district representative and applies only to elective officials of the proposed region to the exclusion of all other elective officials of the country.
While the congressmen seem focused on the anti-political dynasty provision as majority of politicians seem focused on, we pray that the real issue of why there is a Bangsamoro Basic Law will be given just as much focus and understanding.
Otherwise, it will all be for naught and a watered down version that addresses no particular issue of the conflict except politics and the interest of politicians will emerge.