Resolution on peace pact has to wait – BelmonteBy Karen Boncocan
MANILA, Philippines — Speaker Feliciano Belmonte Jr. is in no hurry to commit a House resolution backing the framework agreement between the government and the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) without seeing the implementing executive order on the plan to halt decades of conflict in Mindanao.
He assured reporters during a press conference on Thursday that they would give “preferential attention” to the peace agreement but said that they would wait for an EO which they will then act on, through a resolution.
Belmonte said that the EO “would be subject to a yes or no by either chamber without in anyway preventing further legislation from being presented to the two Houses.”
“That’s what I know and if that is the immediate purpose, I think that can be tackled before the Christmas vacation kung hanggang dun lang and without prejudice to additional implementing laws,” he said.
The agreement’s constitutionality, which has recently been questioned, has been discussed “and the consensus is that it is constitutional. We don’t need to amend the Constitution in order to effectuate it. But you may need some laws, the executive order must be crafted then it will be submitted to Congress and we can act on that.”
The government’s chief negotiator, Marvic Leonen, has earlier urged the House of Representatives to issue a resolution in support of the peace agreement with the MILF.
But Belmonte said that the framework “is just what it is, a framework. We need more details for this.”
He reiterated that charter change is not necessary in creating the Bangsamoro political entity which will replace the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao.