Time ticking away on Bangsamoro, House warns
- The Standard
Administration and opposition lawmakers are one in pressing for the Palace to submit soonest the draft of the proposed Bangsamoro Basic Law before the House of Representatives runs out of time to act on it.
Speaker Feliciano Belmonte Jr. said the House leadership has yet to receive a copy of the draft from the Bangsamoro Transition Commission, which is supposed to craft the bill that will replace the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao with a new entity. The Bangsamoro measure was an offshoot of the signing of a comprehensive agreement between the Aquino administration and the Moro Islamic Liberation Front last March 27.
“No word yet from the Palace,” Belmonte said in a text message, even as he maintained that the proposed would be given a highest priority and vowed to be its principal sponsor.
“We will ensure that it will qualify and pass our Constitution,” Belmonte assured.
Leyte Rep. Ferdinand Martin Romualdez, head of the House Independent Minority Bloc, said Malacañang should submit the proposed law for immediate scrutiny of lawmakers.
Romualdez said the government should address the concerns of Philippine Constitution Association (Philconsa) led by chairman Manuel Lazaro that some provisions of the bill may be unconstitutional.
“Based on the review of the annexes, we are looking at the possible infirmities or inconsistencies with the Constitution, said Romualdez, also the Philconsa president.
Lazaro questioned at least six points in the Bangsamoro Basic Law, two of these include the Executive branch absence of power to bind Congress and Judicial departments – unless the Executive believes Congress and Supreme Court are its lackeys and the proposed wealth sharing as this seems not to be legal and a clear highway robbery.
Earlier, House Majority Leader and Mandaluyong City Rep. Neptali Gonzales II said the leadership is planning to create an ad hoc committee for the Bangsamoro bill to ensure a more deep scrutiny of the measure and orderly deliberations.
Gonzales admitted that the delay in the submission of the Bangsamoro bill would mean lesser time to tackle the proposal before it adjourns on June 13.
“We want to discuss and deliberate it now before we adjourn again next month,” Gonzales said.
The 16th Congress will end its first regular session on June 13. Under the legislative calendar, lawmakers have three regular sessions in one Congress cycle.