Pimentel vows ‘constitutionally acceptable’ BBL

MANILA -- Senate President Aquilino Pimentel III on Wednesday assured that the Senate would be working to make the proposed Bangsamoro Basic Law (BBL) constitutionally acceptable noting that the passage of the law is no longer a matter of debate.

The passage is no longer in debate. I think we all want this. But we all want to pass a Constitutional version because lawmakers are not expected to knowingly pass an unconstitutional measure, Pimentel said in the first Senate hearing on the BBL.

All our energy will be geared towards making this measure constitutionally acceptable and hopefully convince other lawmakers, he added.

Pimentel revealed that President Rodrigo Duterte himself asked the Congress for help in eliminating possible constitutionally objectionable features of the measure.

He also backed Senate Minority Leader Franklin Drilon who earlier said that the Constitution should always be followed.

We should have the Constitution as a primary guide in all our deliberations and look at how we can achieve the dreams of our brothers in Mindanao, Drilon said.

Drilon, meanwhile, said that despite being in the opposition, he was fully supportive of the passage of the BBL.

We are in the opposition but it does not mean we will oppose every measure presented before the chamber and today we are here to manifest our support to the enactment of the BBL, he added.

He pointed out that the BBL is critical for national development because it is only through stability and peace in Mindanao that the entire Philippines could achieve progress.

The senator, meanwhile, asked the Senate secretariat to incorporate previous comments from the 16th Congress into new hearings to save time.

It may be recalled that this is not the first time the Congress undertook efforts to enact a new BBL. The last time was done during the 16th Congress.

Present during the hearing were representatives from Presidential Adviser on the Peace Process Secretary Jesus Dureza, Defense Undersecretary for Defense Operations Cesar Yano, Bangsamoro Trade Commissioner Maisara Dandamun-Latiph, commissioner, among others.

Source: Philippine News Agency