BAGUIO CITY – Malacañang must go slow in forcing Congress to pass the controversial Bangsamoro Basic Law (BBL) because its constitutionality will surely be questioned by constitutional experts that would derail its implementation during the remaining term of President Benigno Simeon C. Aquino III which would result to waste of government time and resources, Leyte 1st district Rep. Ferdinand Martin G. Romualdez said here.
Romualdez, who is also the chairman of the Philippine Constitution Association (PHILCONSA), said the best option to be taken by the Aquino administration in order to guarantee the uncontested passage of the BBL is to first work out the needed amendments to the 1987 Philippine Constitution in order to make the provisions suitable to the provisions of the BBL.
“The BBL will not likely pass the approval of the House if Malacañang will insist on the passage of the law that was submitted considering the existence of too many provisions that are considered to be unconstitutional by constitutional experts. Let us not waste our time and resources in passing a law that will be eventually declared unconstitutional by the Supreme Court (SC),” Romualdez stressed.
He said the PHILCONSA had adopted a common stand that the BBL is unconstitutional after a thorough review of the 29-page bill considering that the State is giving away much of its power, wealth and resources to the Bangsamoro government which should not be the case as the State is the steward of the country’s resources.
According to him, many lawmakers have doubts on the chances of the passage of the BBL after constitutionalists raised their views against the legality of certain provisions that would greatly affect the powers granted by the Constitution to the State, especially in the sharing of its wealth and resources as well as its powers to the Bangsamoro government to be created.
Romualdez explained lawmakers plan to amend portions of the BBL in order to conform with the provisions of the Constitution so that it will not be questioned by constitutional experts before the High Court or, if not, Malacañang should work out the amendment of the Constitution in order to fit in the BBL provisions before the passage of the enabling law to make all things in order.
The Waray lawmaker underscored the importance of embracing a federal form of government instead of passing the BBL because the country’s federal states will have the autonomy that they are longing for compared to the granting of the BBL that would grant the Mindanao area with optimum benefits while depriving others with the grant of sufficient resources which would be contrary to the constitution provision on equitable sharing of the country’s wealth and resources.
Romualdez cited there is a need for the Palace to review its hardline stand for the eventual passage of the BBL within its prescribed timetable this month instead of heeding the call from concerned sectors and the cross section of the country demanding for the non-passage of the BBL because it would result to the inequitable sharing of the country’s resources and could work against the quest for lasting peace as it could serve as an avenue for the Muslims to strengthen their arms and fight for their independence from the Philippine government in the future.