By Sammy F. Martin
MANILA, Sept. 25 (PNA) — House leaders on Friday admitted that quorum become the biggest obstacle why they fail to pass the proposed Bangsamoro Basic Law (BBL) this month.
Ad Hoc committee on BBL chairman and Cagayan de Oro City Rep. Rufus Rodriguez said he is always ready to answer all queries of his collegues to enlighten them on the House version of BBL but due to lack of quorum, attendance is being questioned.
“It is not surprising. This always happened during third regular session of Congress because, many of our colleagues are already busy campaigning,” Rodriguez told reporters in a chance interview.
Aside from this, many of his colleagues are asking for more time to review the proposed measure.
Zamboanga City Rep. Celso Lobregat, a main critic of BBL, agreed that there is no sufficient time to pass the BBL.
“In the House, we are still in the period of interpellation. We still have period of amendments, before we put it to a second reading vote,then third reading. It’s a long way to go,” Lobregat explained..
“Even if we pass it in the House, we still have to reconcile it with that of the Senate. We won’t have enough time for the plebiscite. We can pursue it instead next Congress and have it in place by 2019,” Lobregat added.
Originally, the House of Representatives is eyeing to pass the peace measure on third and final reading last September 20 or before the proposed Php3.002 trillion General Appropriations Bill (GAB) for next year reaches the plenary.
House Bill 5811 which is in substitution for HB 4994 (An Act Providing Basic Law for Bangsamoro Autonomous Region) is still in the period of interpellations. There are at 10 more solons lined up to interpellaae the sponsor.
For his part, House Independent Bloc Leader and Leyte Rep. Ferdinand Martin Romualdez said the BBL should not be passed without allowing lawmakers to further review, study and scrutinize the peace measure aimed at ensuring that this would be constitutionally compliant.
“Lawmakers need more time to study the BBL because we want to guarantee that what we would be passing will be legal and constitutional,” said Romualdez, after House and Senate leaders agreed to pass the bill before the end of the year.
On the same day after the new deadline for BBL’s passage was made public last Wednesday, no less than Speaker Feliciano “Sonny” Belmonte Jr. virtually admitted in the morning that BBL was dead because of lack of material time.
The measure seeks the abolition of the present Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao and the creation of a more autonomous Bangsamoro region.
The measure was an offshoot of the government’s Comprehensive Agreement on the Bangsamoro with the Moro Islamic Liberation Front.
The measure is a product of negotiations between the government and the MILF, seeks to create a new autonomous region in Mindanao. (PMA)