BBL is dead, says Bongbong Marcos
FOR Sen. Ferdinand Marcos Jr., the proposed Basic Law on the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region (BLBAR) is dead since Congress “just run out of time” to pass it.
On the last session day of Congress for the year, Marcos said yesterday he hoped the administration that would succeed President Aquino next year will be able to pass the measure.
“Whatever happens to the Basic Law, we have to continue the peace process,” said Marcos, who heads the Senate local government committee tackling the measure that seeks to create a new autonomous region in Mindanao to replace the existing Autonomous Region of Muslim Mindanao.
Congress adjourned its session yesterday for a month-long Yuletide break without passing the draft law. Sessions resume on Jan. 18 next year.
Speaking to reporters, Marcos said the proposed law was still in the period of interpellation, with Senate Minority Leader Juan Ponce Enrile just having done with his questions on page 4 of the 100-page measure.
While he believed senators would still be able to work on approving the BLBAR, it will be a different case for the House.
“Probably we can reasonably expect that in our short session in January that we can’t get a quorum in the House because I’m sure 99 percent of them will be candidates one thing or another so they will be campaigning,” Marcos said.
Congress will only hold sessions for over two weeks—from Jan. 18 to Feb. 5 next year. It will then go on a three-month break for the 2016 election campaign leading to election day.
Marcos also said the House also has “strong objections” to the BLBAR.
He also said he doubted the Senate will be able to pass it next month because of the argument of Enrile that the BLBAR was considered a “bill of local application” and as such, just like the budget bill, it has to get first the approval of the House.
“The rules are clear that any bill of local application needs to be approved in the House and transmitted to the Senate before we can deliberate on it and then vote on it,” the senator added. “If this is really a local bill, we have to wait for the House version,” he said.
At the House of Representatives, Minority Leader and San Juan Rep. Ronaldo Zamora said he thought Congress didn’t do a particularly good job this year.
“I don’t really think, speaking of Congress as an institution, that it did particularly well,” he told reporters.
The House has been beset with quorum problems, with many lawmakers absent.
At a press forum, Zamora said one of the chamber’s greatest failings was to pass a Bangsamoro Basic Law (BBL) in an “acceptable form.”
The BBL, an offshoot of the peace deal between government and the Moro Islamic Liberation Front, was touted as a centerpiece legislation of the Aquino administration.
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