House to await results of investigations before resuming BBL hearings

By , on February 9, 2015


President Benigno S. Aquino III and Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak witness MILF Peace Panel chairman Mohagher Iqbal, Malaysian facilitator Tengku Ghafar, Presidential Adviser on the Peace Process Secretary Teresita Quintos-Deles affix their signature to the Comprehensive Agreement on the Bangsamoro in a ceremony at the Kalayaan Grounds of the Malacañan Palace on Thursday (March 27). Also in photo are MILF chairman Al Haj Murad Ebrahim,Presidential Adviser on the Peace Process Secretary Teresita Quintos-Deles,MILF Peace Panel chairman Mohagher Iqbal,GPH Peace Panel chairperson Professor Miriam Coronel-Ferrer and Malaysian facilitator Tengku Dato Abdul Ghafar (Photo by Ryan Lim/ Malacañang Photo Bureau)
President Benigno S. Aquino III and Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak witness MILF Peace Panel chairman Mohagher Iqbal, Malaysian facilitator Tengku Ghafar, Presidential Adviser on the Peace Process Secretary Teresita Quintos-Deles affix their signature to the Comprehensive Agreement on the Bangsamoro in a ceremony at the Kalayaan Grounds of the Malacañan Palace on Thursday (March 27). Also in photo are MILF chairman Al Haj Murad Ebrahim,Presidential Adviser on the Peace Process Secretary Teresita Quintos-Deles,MILF Peace Panel chairman Mohagher Iqbal,GPH Peace Panel chairperson Professor Miriam Coronel-Ferrer and Malaysian facilitator Tengku Dato Abdul Ghafar (Photo by Ryan Lim/ Malacañang Photo Bureau)

MANILA — The House leadership on Monday said they have to await results of ongoing investigations on the Mamasapano incident before proceeding with the hearings on the passage of the Bangsamoro Basic Law (BBL).

“Right now, all we can do is to wait. They suspended the hearings because they are awaiting certain reports,” Speaker Feliciano Belmonte Jr. in an interview.

On Sunday, Cagayan de Oro City Rep. Rufus Rodriguez, the chairman of the 75-man ad hoc committee on the BBL, said his committee is eyeing an “amended BBL” by addressing certain issues.

“We are still very optimistic that an amended bill that will assure and safeguard the rights of all stakeholders will be in place so that [Mamasapano] will not happen again and that it can’t be abused by future Bangsamoro government. I am confident that we will have a law in the coming months,” Rodriguez told House reporters.

Rodriguez said the indefinite suspension is needed to correct some perceived flaws in the peace process, but he stressed that the BBL passage must be realized.

“I think everyone is still for lasting peace through law that will give their autonomy and fiscal autonomy through the Bangsamoro. We can’t go back to war because it is even be worse than if you don’t have the BBL. So that is why we are going through this (indefinite suspension of BBL hearings),” said Rodriguez.

The Cagayan de Oro solon said the indefinite suspension of the proceedings will last until the separate investigations of the House committee on public order and safety and the Department of Justice (DOJ) on the Mamasapano incident are completed.

Earlier, Malacanang asked Congress not to block the passage of BBL following the outrage on Mamasapano, Maguindanao bloodbath that killed 44 members of the Special Action Force (SAF) of the Philippine National Police (PNP) during the January 25 anti-terrorism operation and the ensuing clash with the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) and its breakaway group, the Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters (BIFF).