MANILA — Administration solons on Wednesday said that they wanted House Ad Hoc committee on Bangsamoro Basic Law (BBL) to continue performing its duties and responsibilities in order to craft the flagship bill of the administration even during recess.
Deputy Speaker and Lanao del Sur Rep. Pangalian Balindong, together with Davao del Norte Rep. Anthony del Rosario, said in a press conference that those groups who wanted to stop the hearing do not want to “spoil their scheduled vacation.”
Congress goes on Lenten break starting tomorrow (March 19) and be back on May 4.
“We reiterate our support and continue to call for the passage of the BBL and we assure the Filipino public that we will do everything in our power to make sure that it will pass,” Balindong told reporters.
“We as legislators understand, perhaps more than anyone, that a law cannot automatically guarantee peace. However, we believe this is a step – the only step we have now – in the right direction,” he added.
Balindong called on their colleagues to take the high road of statesmanship in these difficult times.
“The BBL must and will undergo intense scrutiny in Congress but let us remember that we have to pass a law that remains faithful in substance to the Comprehensive Agreement on the Bangsamoro, not because of what it is or who forged that agreement, but because we believe doing so is the only way to ensure the law we pass will provide a real and lasting solution for Mindanao and the country,” he said.
The latest count of signatories is 55 out of 75-member Ad Hoc committee on the BBL have signed a manifesto calling for the postponement of next month’s closed-door deliberations on the measure until the chamber revives its probe into the Mamasapano police operation.
Del Rosario said that the secretariat had notified members of the ad hoc that they will hold two-week closed-door discussions starting April 6 on the bill and have the members vote for its approval on April 16.
Zamboanga City Rep. Celso Lobregat and Yakap Party-list Rep. Carol Jane Lopez were the one convincing their colleagues to sign up to stop Ad Hoc committee to continue hearing during recess saying they need to wait for the final recommendation and findings of the two committees [public order safety and committee on peace, unification and unity] who decided to stop investigating the Mamasapano fiasco. At least more they have gathered more than 50 signatures of the members of the panel.
“We will try to gather as much signature we can to push Congressman Rodriguez to defer going line-by-line of the proposed BBL,” Lobregat told reporters in a chance interview.
The manifesto aims to force Rodriguez to shelve the executive sessions if two-thirds of the committee will object to it.
For his part, Ifugao Rep. Teddy Baguilat said the BBL will be their model to guide them in crafting their own law for Cordillera Autonomous Region (CAR).
“BBL will be the pattern of CAR law in the future and it will serve as our guiding light,” he said.
House Speaker Feliciano Belmonte Jr., earlier said he would consider reviving the House’s investigation if he finds the BOI’s report unsatisfactory.