BBL may need ‘constitutional surgery’

By , on February 3, 2015

Photo by Robert Viñas / PCOO
Photo by Robert Viñas / PCOO

MANILA — A ‘constitutional surgery’ might be needed for the proposed Bangsamoro Basic Law (BBL), according to legal experts during a Senate hearing last Monday.

The said bill which seeks to create a “substate” in Mindanao may have to be re-checked, according to Merlin Magallona, former dean of the University of the Philippines College of Law during the resumption of the joint hearings on constitutional amendments.

“What occasions a major constitutional surgery by reason of the BBL is the creation of a political system that has the characteristics of a state in that it is possessed of exclusive powers, having its own territorial domain, population and government, all integrated to one another in relative independence from the national government,” Magallona said.

He added that, as a result, the substate will emerge within the Philippine state “with a phenomenon of a divided sovereignty.”

However, Former Supreme Court Justice Adolf Azcuna said that there is no longer a need for a constitutional amendment because the Charter has already “mandated” the autonomous region.

He also added that the grant of territory does not make the Bangsamoro a separate state citing that the sovereign state consists of territory, people, government and sovereignty or independence.

“It’s not enough to have a definite territory to become a separate state. You must have independence, and independence is definitely not granted to the autonomous region in this proposed setup,” he said.

Meanwhile, the Congress is now eyeing to pass the BBL draft by March this year and is scheduled for ratification in the Bangsamoro areas in October.

Its new officials ares also slated to be elected in the May 2016 national elections.