MANILA – Speaker of the House, Sonny Belmonte recognized Malacañang’s unction not to water down the Bangsamoro Basic Law (BBL), but expressed his belief that the believes the BBL will be subject to alterations before it is passed.
“Itong BBL pending before us, for sure it cannot be passed as is in the face of constitutional issues. As much as possible, we would like to accommodate what was agreed upon by our panel and the Moro Islamic Liberation Front,” he recently told reporters.
Belmonte pointed out that the it cannot be imposed upon the nation’s lawmakers to pass the bill without alteration
“They are not dummies that can be led around. Meron rin silang some kind of a background on what things you have to consider, what things you cannot consider,” he said.
Over one month after the massacre of 44 SAF commandos in a botched operation between government forces and Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) rebels, there have been calls from lawmakers for the rebels to surrender their firearms, and to turn in their comrades who took part in the bloody battle in Mamasapano, Magunidanao.
To this, Belmonte noted that the primary obligation of Congress “is to the Constitution.”
“We have to abide by it lalo na kami we’re public officials. We will do that and hope they, because aside from being Bangsamoro they are first Filipinos, the Constitution also holds sway over them. Kaya yun, we try to hew as much as possible to what was agreed upon but definitely not at cost of violating Constitution,” he said.