BACOLOD CITY, Philippines – Senator Francis Escudero urged Congress to thoroughly study the pending Bangsamoro basic law before acting on it.
“We will not follow the deadline set by Malacañang or Senate President Franklin Drilon. We’re not Grade 1 students that we have to pass our paper, finish or not finish,” he stressed during a visit to this city on Monday, June 1.
“We will do what is right,” he added.
House and Senate leaders earlier agreed to pass the law by June 11 before Congress adjourns session.
When lawmakers report back for work in July, it would mark the last State of the Nation Address of President Benigno Aquino III. Before this, Aquino is expected to name his chosen presidential bet – an event that would determine how political alliances in Congress would move with one year to go before the 2016 elections.
But even Senate President Franklin Drilon admitted that senators would not be able to meet the June deadline after Senator Ferdinand Marcos Jr decided to hold more committee hearings. At least 12 senators, including 5 co-authors, signed Senator Miriam Defensor Santiago’s report concluding that the BBL as submitted is unconstitutional.
Escudero said he is not against BBL or its passage. “I’m against the version of the Office of the Presidential Adviser on the Peace Process and the Moro Islamic Liberation Front.”
“Maraming mali. Maraming illegal. Hindi tama. Babaguhin natin sa Senado ‘yan. (It’s wrong. It’s illegal. It’s not right. We will change that in the Senate,)” the senator said. Escudero co-authored the BBL bill filed in the Senate.
At the House of Representatives, the bill at least passed the committee level.
On Monday, it formally reached the House plenary, after 8 months of deliberations and 51 commitee hearings. It’s still expected to face rough sailing, however. – with reports from Marchel P. Espina/Rappler.com
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