SENATOR Ferdinand Marcos Jr. said Sunday they will proceed with the Senate caucus today on the Bangsamoro Basic Law but admitted he was not yet ready with the substitute bill as they were still threshing out some constitutional issues.
“We can have the caucus but I might not be ready. We can’t make it [the submission of the substitute bill],” said Marcos, head of the Senate’s local government committee that conducted hearings on the BBL.
He said he would again consult Senate President Franklin Drilon about giving senators a time frame on the debates considering that the Senate would also be busy with the proposed P3-trillion budget and other priority measures.
Marcos made his statement even as Malacañang, through Communications Secretary Herminio Coloma Jr. called for the BBL’s enactment during administration of President Benigno Aquino III.
“The passage of the BBL should not be delayed,” Coloma told dzRB radio in reaction to Marcos’ statement that there was no more time to pass the BBL now.
Marcos said Aquino should just leave the burden of passing the proposed BBL to the next administration.
Marcos said the BBL was not a simple issue. He said they were already in the economic provisions and the transnational provisions, but they were having difficulty with the issue of decommissioning the MILF because it was too complicated.
“Our proposal is different from the original,” Marcos told reporters.
He noted that the original plan for the decommissioning or the turning over of firearms to the government was not followed.
“What happened was different from that written in the Annex, the original Annex, so we have to change it,” Marcos said.
Since the schedule of the decommissioning was not followed, Marcos said, it was an indication of weakness.
He said it also showed the MILF was hesitant to surrender their guns to the government, but that was not surprising.
“That is the last thing that they want to do give up their arms especially in their culture in the south where everybody and even the neophytes have guns,” he said.
He said the unconstitutionality of the draft BBL was another big problem, and next to that was the lack of clarity.
“The problem is the draft BBL itself. The very basic and biggest problem of course is the unconstitutionality. Next to that is the lack of clarity,” Marcos said.
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