Aquino open to meet senators on Bangsamoro Basic Law, Palace official says

By on February 25, 2015

President Benigno S. Aquino III presides over the National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA) Board Meeting at the Aguinaldo State Dining Room of the Malacañan Palace on Monday (February 16, 2015). Also in photo (from left) are Presidential Communications Operations Office Secretary Herminio Coloma Jr.; Science and Technology Secretary Mario Montejo; Tourism Secretary Ramon Jimenez Jr.; Secretary to the Cabinet Jose Rene Almendras; Finance Secretary Cesar Purisima and Environment and Natural Resources Secretary Ramon Jesus Paje. (Photo by Lauro Montellano Jr./Malacañang Photo Bureau/PNA)
President Benigno S. Aquino III (Photo by Lauro Montellano Jr./Malacañang Photo Bureau/PNA)

MANILA — Following his meeting with leaders of the House of Representatives on the Mamasapano incident and the proposed Bangasamoro Basic Law (BBL) on Monday, President Benigno S. Aquino III would be open to a similar meeting with members of the Senate, a Palace official has said.

Hindi naman maipapasa ang batas (BBL) ng iisang House of Congress lamang; dalawang Houses ito dapat. Mahalagang stakeholders din po ang ating mga senador at sa aspetong ito, sa pakiwari ko naman ay bukas ang Pangulo sa pakikipag-usap sa kanila kung ito ring paksang ito ang tatalakayin,” Communication Secretary Herminio Coloma, Jr. told reporters during Tuesday’s press briefing in Malacañang.

(A single House of Congress can’t pass a law [BBL], it needs two Houses. Our senators are also significant stakeholders in this aspect. I do believe that that President is open to discuss with them about this same topic.)

President Aquino met with House members, led by Speaker Feliciano Belmonte and other representatives, on Monday morning to brief them on the background of the operations to capture high-value terrorist suspects Zulkifli bin Hir, also known as Marwan, and Abdul Basit Usman.

According to Coloma, who was present at the meeting, the President also emphasized the importance of the timely approval of the BBL “to pave the way for the holding of a plebiscite and if the people will approve the same, to give the members of the Bangsamoro Transitional Authority sufficient time to demonstrate their capabilities.”

A number of members of both the House of Representatives and the Senate have called for the suspension of deliberations on the proposed BBL, until the investigation of the Mamasapano incident.