Marcos: Congress can still pass BBL if House has quorum to approve it

The Senate Committee on Local Government, chaired by Senator Bongbong Marcos, together with the Committees on Peace Unification and Reconcillation; and Constitutional Amendments and Revision of Codes, will contiunue its inquiry on the proposed Bangsamoro Basic Law. Also present during the BBL hearing is Senator Chiz Escudero. (MNS photo)

The Senate Committee on Local Government, chaired by Senator Bongbong Marcos, together with the Committees on Peace Unification and Reconcillation; and Constitutional Amendments and Revision of Codes, will contiunue its inquiry on the proposed Bangsamoro Basic Law. Also present during the BBL hearing is Senator Chiz Escudero. (MNS photo)

MANILA (Mabuhay) – Senator Ferdinand Marcos Jr. on Tuesday said Congress may still be able to approve the proposed Bangsamoro Basic Law if the House of Representatives can muster a quorum to tackle its own version of the bill.

In a press statement, Marcos, chairman of the Senate local government committee, said he is ready to answer senators’ questions on the Senate’s version he dubbed as Basic Law for the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region (BLBAR) as deliberation resumes on Tuesday.

The bill is now in the period of interpellation with Minority Leader Juan Ponce Enrile asking questions.

“Deliberations of the BLBAR in the House had been stalled because of a lack of quorum. Now, if they can muster a quorum to proceed with their discussions, it may be possible to pass the bill before our session ends,” Marcos said.

While he admitted that he has no control over the length of the interpellations, he remains confident the Senate can find a consensus to speed up their deliberation on the measure meant to bring peace to Muslim Mindanao.

“We (in the Senate) are still in the period of interpellation. After that we will take up amendments that the other senators will propose. Then, we will vote on it and pass it.”

“I think the substitute bill that I wrote, once it has been properly amended by the Senators, I think it should pass,” he added.

Earlier, Senate President Franklin Drilion expressed confidence the Senate will be able to pass the BBL before the campaign period starts for the May 2016 polls.

“Pagkatapos ng budget ay ‘yung Bangsamoro Basic Law. We have only one senator who will interpellate, Senator Juan Ponce Enrile. We are not aware of any other senator,” he told reporters last week.

“Assuming that this is the case, we should be able to terminate the period of debates by the first week of December. Assuming that there will be no senator who will interpellate, except Senator Enrile, then afterwards, we will go to the period of amendment,” he added.

The BBL is the embodiment of the peace talks and agreements between the Moro Islamic Liberation Front and the government. (MNS)

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