MANILA — Senator Ferdinand “Bongbong” R. Marcos vowed to conduct public hearings on the proposed Bangsamoro Basic Law (BBL) even if Congress “is at rest.”
This developed as Senate President Franklin Drilon and House Speaker Feliciano Belmonte reportedly had agreed to pass the BBL before sine die adjournment of Congress in June this year.
“We can still continue working during the adjournment. We can still hold hearings even if we are in recess,” Marcos said in a Senate media interview.
According to the legislative calendar for the Second Regular Session of the 16th Congress, the Senate will adjourn on March 21, 2015 until May 3, 2015 and the session will resume on May 4, 2015 until June 11, 2015. The current regular session will end on June 12, 2015.
The public hearing is part of the legislative process of Congress in enacting a bill into law.
Marcos, chairman of the Senate committee on local government, suspended public hearings on the BBL after the Jan. 25 Mamasapano clash where 44 Special Action Force commandos were killed by the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) and Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters (BIFF).
He said that while the “self-imposed deadline” for Congress to pass the BBL is so tight, he will try his best to meet the timetable.
“It’s always been tight…Our June target, perhaps we can do it but we will still try,” Marcos said.
He said he was just waiting for the separate investigation reports of both the Board of Inquiry of the Philippine National Police and the MILF, plus the report of the Senate Committee on Public Order and Dangerous Drugs, regarding the Mamasapano incident before scheduling the resumption of the BBL hearing.
He said the Senate is behind the House (of Representatives) in terms of scheduling because his committee was not able to conduct hearings like scheduled hearings in Jolo and Zamboanga City.
“But I still want to go to Jolo, I still want to go to Zamboanga to finish what we had begun and then conduct the hearings here in Manila also,” Marcos said.
Marcos said the ongoing all-out offensive by the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) against the BIFF elements poses problem in their plan to hold out of town hearings in Basilan and Sulu.