Senators willing to sit down with President Aquino on BBL — Drilon

By Jelly F. Musico

MANILA, May 26 (PNA) — Senate President Franklin Drilon on Tuesday said the senators would welcome sitting down with President Benigno Aquino III after the release of the committee report on the Bangsamoro Basic Law (BBL).

”We welcome the statement of the President that he is willing to sit down with the senators to discuss the BBL,” Drilon said in a media interview.

”However, we would like to see first the committee report in order that we will know how far would be the disagreements insofar as the senators are concerned,” he clarified.

With regards to apprehension that President Aquino might influence the senators, Drilon said there would be nothing unusual meeting with the President.

”The President is the political leader of our country. He is the head of the government, and there is nothing unusual about this process,” he explained.

Drilon said the goal of the meeting is “to reconcile if there are differences of the views of the senators.”

The Senate leader also said the senators would still discuss whether there is a need for the highest political leader to try to reconcile the differences in the BBL.

For his part, Senate committee on local government chairman Sen. Ferdinand ‘Bongbong’ Marcos Jr. said he is willing to talk with President Aquino for a genuine discussion on how to iron out the kinks in the BBL to ensure it would lead to lasting peace in Muslim Mindanao.

“As I said before, if we are going to discuss with the President the various issues directly related to BBL and if he has suggestions for us we would certainly listen because his inputs are important,” Marcos said in a separate media interview.

Meanwhile, Drilon said the Senate will stick to its self-imposed June 10 deadline to finish the BBL.

”We have self-imposed deadline because we have to finish it in June. Let’s not forget that the filing of certificates of candidacy for 2016 elections is October,” he said.

”We cannot lose by default, we must work on this bill,” he added. (PNA)