Drilon: Changes in BBL substitute bill needed to make it constitutional

-- Senate President Franklin Drilon opens the 3rd and last Regular Session of the 16th Congress on Monday (July 27, 2015) at the Senate Building in Pasay City. The Senate will hold a joint session with the House of Representatives Monday afternoon to hear the last and 6th State-of-the- Nation Address (SONA) of President Benigno S. Aquino III. (MNS photo)

— Senate President Franklin Drilon opens the 3rd and last Regular Session of the 16th Congress on Monday (July 27, 2015) at the Senate Building in Pasay City. The Senate will hold a joint session with the House of Representatives Monday afternoon to hear the last and 6th State-of-the- Nation Address (SONA) of President Benigno S. Aquino III. (MNS photo)

MANILA (Mabuhay) — Senate President Franklin Drilon defended Thursday the changes made by Senator Ferdinand Marcos Jr. in the Malacañang-backed proposed Bangsamoro Basic Law.

Drilon said the changes were necessary to make the proposed measure constitutional.

“Sa akin pong tingin, siyempre may mga binago kami. Halimbawa, ‘yung police siniguro natin na sasang-ayon sa structure ng ating Philippine National Police na kung saan ang National Police Commission ang siyang may control sa ating national police force, ayon sa Saligang Batas,” he said.

“Iyong COA (Commission on Audit), ‘yung Comelec (Commission on Elections), atin pong inilagay sa tama at iyan po ang significant changes sa version ng Senado,” he added.

The agencies, lawmakers, and legal luminaries earlier opposed the provisions in the BBL that seek the creation of the Bangsamoro government’s separate COA, Comelec, Civil Service Commission (CSC), Commission on Human Rights (CHR), and Office of the Ombudsman, as the establishment of such separate offices runs contrary to the 1987 Constitution.

The Palace-proposed BBL also contains a section which requires the President to coordinate military operations with the chief minister of the Bangsamoro region. It also has sections which empower the chief minister to have control and supervision over police forces in the region.

Moro Islamic Liberal Front chief negotiator Mohagher Iqbal earlier said such provisions must be retained as the Bangsamoro government would need regional offices.

The BBL is the embodiment of the peace agreement signed by the Philippine government and the MILF in March 2014.

It seeks to create the Bangsamoro political entity which will replace the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao. It will also specify wealth- and power-sharing arrangements between the national government and the new political entity.

Marcos submitted his 100-page substitute bill entitled “Basic Law for the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region” to the Senate Monday and sponsored it on the floor Wednesday.

In his sponsorship speech of Senate Bill No. 2894 or the proposed Basic Law for the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region, Marcos said that he could not allow the law to pave the way for the establishment of an independent state.

The senators are expected to start their interpellations on the bill on Monday.

“Sa Lunes ay magsisimula na ang debate at asahan po ng ating mga kababayan – unang-una ang aming layunin dito ay ang ating Saliganag Batas ay masusunod; pangalawa, ang kapayapaan po ng Mindanao ang ating hinahangad, para po magkaroon po ng dagdag na investment doon po sa Mindanao at magkaroon ng trabaho ‘yung mga ating kababayan sa Mindanao,” Drilon said.

“Ito po ang aming mga pakay at amin pong sisikapin na matapos lalo na sa madaling panahon itong Bangsamoro Basic Law. Uulitin ko lang, aming sisiguraduhin na ito ay sasang-ayon sa Saligang Batas,” he added.(MNS)

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