MANILA – Senator Miriam Santiago, Senate committee on constitutional amendment and revision of codes chairperson, disclosed that 12 of the 14 committee members called for revisions of the proposed Bangsamoro Basic Law (BBL).
Aside from Santiago, the other senators who backed the need for revisions were Bongbong Marcos, Sonny Angara, Jinggoy Estrada, Teofisto Guingona, Gringo Honasan, Lito Lapid, Koko Pimentel, Tito Sotto, Cynthia Villar, and two ex-members Alan Peter Cayetano and Ralph Recto.
The aforementioned senators believed that the draft BBL should be ‘substantially revised,’ especially with some provisions which were ‘unconstitutional.’ Hence, the Senate’s views in the BBL were in contrast with the House of Representatives, which fully supported the proposed law.
With doubts on its ‘constitutionality,’ especially on matters of autonomy, sovereignty, territorial integrity, and the creation of a sub-state, the senators deemed that the draft BBL will be greatly scrutinized by the Supreme Court should it be approved in its present form.
“Senators are agreeing with the conclusion that the present BBL draft is essentially unconstitutional. I expect that more of my colleagues will adopt the same view on the Senate floor,” Santiago said.
After conducting two hearings on the BBL, the committee made and signed a report. Presidential adviser on peace process Teresita Quintos Deles, chief negotiator Miriam Coronel Ferrer, and Moro Islamic Liberation Front leaders served as resource persons. Former Supreme Court Chief Justice Artemio Panganiban, former Justices Florentino Feliciano and Vicente Mendoza, former UP Law Dean Merlin Magallona, among others, were also consulted with the matter.
The report was then presented to Senator Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr., Senate committee on local government chair, for deliberation.
“The Bangsamoro Basic Law has much merit, but its promulgation requires constitutional amendment or revision; mere legislation will not suffice, and will spark Supreme Court litigation,” stated the released report.
With the report passed, Santiago expected plenary debates to come.
“Newspapers have predicted that the report of my committee will slow down Senate proceedings on the BBL draft. If so, then the report would have served its purpose. We need to consider the BBL with caution, not with haste,” Santiago said.