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House panel to vote on BBL Tuesday

'We owe people our vote' - solons
/ 06:25 PM May 11, 2015

THE House of Representatives ad hoc Bangsamoro committee is set to finally vote on the amendments of the proposed Bangsamoro basic law (BBL) on Tuesday, with one lawmaker saying their constituents deserve to know the votes.

During the panel hearing Monday, chairman Cagayan de Oro Representative Rufus Rodriguez turned down some lawmakers’ request for more time to discuss the amendments on the bill that seeks to create a more politically autonomous Bangsamoro region.

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“We will vote tomorrow. We already bent the rules. The people are waiting for our votes. We owe it to our people already that we should vote,” Rodriguez said.

“We don’t want to shut out anybody (from proposing amendments). We have allowed all members of the committee to present amendments,” he added.

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Rodriguez reacted to Zamboanga City Rep. Celso Lobregat’s motion for additional time to discuss the proposed amendments to the BBL.

“(So) that we can discuss before we vote and that we know where it’s coming from,” Lobregat, a vocal critic on the constitutionality of the BBL, said.

Initially, the Bangsamoro committee wanted to conduct executive sessions for the voting of the BBL from Monday to Wednesday this week. Rodriguez said members of the committee requested to keep their votes confidential for a bill supposedly riddled with constitutional issues.

But the panel eventually opened its doors later in the day. Rodriguez said the subsequent hearings would now be made public.

Rodriguez said Bayan Muna Rep. Neri Colmenares moved to make the hearing public. All members eventually voted for the motion, he said.

“The principle of transparency will prevail over concerns of secrecy and grandstanding. We’re going to make sure this will be transparent,” Rodriguez said.

The House panel is expected to vote on a per line basis on the bill through a roll call of members.

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Lawmakers will be able to explain their vote during the plenary debate for nominal voting under second reading.

The proposed BBL will create a more politically autonomous Bangsamoro region to replace the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao and implement the government peace deal with the Moro Islamic Liberation Front.

Lawmakers were critical of various provisions seen as contradictory to the Constitution.

Among the contested provisions are the creation of a Bangsamoro police, a commission on audit and an election body.

However, the Citizen’s Peace Council led by former Chief Justice Hilario Davide said the bill remains compliant with the Constitution.

The following are a few of the BBL amendments lawmakers will vote on tomorrow (Tuesday):

– The national government (through the Bangsamoro police), and not the Bangsamoro government, to have primary responsibility over public order and safety in the region

– Bangsamoro Commission on Audit (COA) to become Bangsamoro auditing body to assist COA central

– Bangsamoro electoral office to become Commission on Elections (Comelec) regional office in Bangsamoro region

– Bangsamoro government’s disciplinary authority over its own officials to have no prejudice against Ombudsman Central’s powers to discipline public officials

– Bangsamoro Civil Service to become Bangsamoro civil office

– To delete the provision for coordination between national and Bangsamoro government about the Armed Forces’ movement in the Bangsamoro region

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