By Hannah Torregoza
Senate minority leader Franklin Drilon on Tuesday said he agrees with President Rodrigo Duterte’s earlier position that the immediate passage of the Bangsamoro basic law is more important and should be prioritized.
Drilon shared his sentiment despite the insistence of House lawmakers to pursue amendments to the 1987 Constitution to pave the way for the shift to a federal form of government.
“We are in support of the enactment of the Bangsamoro Basic Law. Like the President, we must just ensure that it is consistent with our constitution,” Drilon told reporters in an interview before the Senate’s 3 p.m. session.
“Priority ang BBL; that’s what I understand from the President,” he said. Drilon noted that the President has found an urgency in enacting the BBL for peace and stability in Mindanao.
“And as I’ve said, we support the passage of the BBL that would be consistent with our 1987 Constitution,” he said.
Presidential spokesperson Harry Roque earlier said the President has expressed preference for Congress to pass the proposed BBL first before pursuing Charter change.
“The President wants to enact BBL first. In his words, ‘It would be hard, once Charter change begins, to implement the BBL,” Roque said in a press briefing.
“So he is clear. He wants BBL enacted. The stand of the President really … is that we must enact BBL first,” he further said.
Roque, however, declined to give a time frame to Congress, saying the Executive branch recognizes the Legislative a co-equal branch of government.
But he said, sources at the Office of the Presidential Adviser on the Peace Process (OPAPP) are said to be looking at March for the passage of the BBL at least in the House of Representatives.