Pimentel has misgivings on new BBL
Senate President Aquilino “Koko” Pimentel III on Saturday raised concerns about the latest draft Bangsamoro law submitted to Congress, saying it retained some of the questionable provisions found in the previous version of the bill that failed to pass during the Aquino administration.
Malacañang has forwarded to Congress the latest draft Bangsamoro Basic Law (BBL) crafted by the Bangsamoro Transition Commission (BTC), whose members were appointed by President Duterte.
“It seems to be similar to the previous version that we had tackled. That is what I am worried about,” Pimentel said in a radio interview.
Pimentel noted that lawmakers had questioned provisions of the previous BBL.
“If they are almost the same, then the old objections would be raised again … We would just go back to the old issues. It will be like a replay,” he said.
His staff members were going over the latest BBL draft to study closely how it had changed, he further said.
Pimentel did not specify the questioned provisions that were retained in the latest BBL version. But among the sections in the draft BBL that lawmakers had objected to during the previous administration were the ones that created the Bangsamoro’s own audit body as well as its own civil service and electoral offices.
Lawmakers had contended then that these provisions ran counter to the Constitution.
A check made by the Inquirer showed that the provisions on these bodies in the draft BBL version submitted by the BTC were similar to those in the previous BBL version.
Also questioned previously was the parliamentary government in the Bangsamoro region. Critics of this provision, including a retired Supreme Court justice, said there could not be a parliamentary government under the country’s present system.
The BTC version of the bill continues to provide for a parliamentary government in the Bangsamoro.
The Philippines has a unitary government, but Mr. Duterte is leading the shift to a federal system.
Pimentel, who had met with Mr. Duterte and members of the BTC in Malacañang recently, said that he had told the commission’s members to be prepared to explain their draft Bangsamoro bill to the senators.
He also said Malacañang would study the BTC version of the bill. According to him, the BTC’s BBL may not necessarily be the version that the executive branch would back.
The President earlier vowed to husband the Bangsamoro bill through Congress.
He had also promised to come up with a “constitutionally consistent legal instrument that will lay the foundation for establishing real and lasting peace in Mindanao.”
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