Senator Marcos vows more transparent BBL hearings to bring back public trust

By , on March 20, 2015


Sen. Bongbong Marcos, Chair of the Committee on Local Government, discusses with MILF chief peace negotiator Mohager Iqbal the conditions for the resumption of the Bangsamoro Basic law Hearings. (Facebook photo)
Sen. Bongbong Marcos, Chair of the Committee on Local Government, discusses with MILF chief peace negotiator Mohager Iqbal the conditions for the resumption of the Bangsamoro Basic law Hearings. (Facebook photo)

MANILA – Senator Ferdinand Marcos Jr. promised on Thursday to be more transparent in the conduct of the public hearings on the proposed Bangsamoro Basic Law (BBL).

Marcos, chairman of the Senate Committee on Local Government, made this reaction following a Pulse Asia survey which showed 44 percent of the Filipinos opposed the BBL.

”That is expected. That’s why I have been saying that because of the Mamasapano incident, the trust of the people in the peace process has diminished,” Marcos said.

The lawmaker said both the peace panels of the government and the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) have to work hard to bring back the trust of the people.

”We have to bring back the trust. We have all to be transparent and become accountable so that the people will be able to see the process of writing the BBL. They have to understand why we are doing this,” he explained.

”That is why the hearings are all in public. I think nobody would ask for an executive session. We will keep it open,” he added.

Marcos has initially set the resumption of BBL hearings on April 13, particularly on the ceasefire mechanisms.

He, however, said the resumption of the BBL hearings will depend on the submission of the MILF board of inquiry report on the Mamasapano incident.

The MILF leadership has reportedly submitted to Malaysia, instead of to the Philippine government, its investigation report. Malaysia is the international monitoring team of the peace process.

Last Wednesday, the Senate adopted a resolution ordering the Philippines peace panel to secure from the MILF the copy of its investigation report on the Mamasapano incident.

“We have already read the other reports. We also need to see the MILF investigation report so we will know what really happened,” Marcos said.

The MILF initiated its own investigation on the Mamasapano incident after it has been accused of violating the peace agreement that it entered into with the government.

The MILF combatants, joined by the Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters (BIFF) and other armed groups, attacked the Philippine National Police-Special Action Force (SAF) troopers on Jan. 25, killing 44 of the 392 SAF commandos.

The lawless elements attacked the SAF troopers while on a mission to arrest international terrorists Zulkifli bin Hir, alias Marwan, and Basit Usman. Marwan was killed while Usman, a commander of the BIFF, was able to escape.