Zubiri: Political clans to derail BBL

Sen. Miguel Zubiri

SUPPORT  from both chambers of Congress and the determination of President Rodrigo Duterte for its passage do not guarantee the quick approval of the Bangsamoro Basic Law (BBL) as the battle for the law to grant Muslim autonomy continues, Presidential Adviser on the Peace Proceas (OPAPP) Secretary Jesus Dureza said.

Despite the legal soundness of the proposal law, any version that Congress will come up with will also likely end up in the Supreme Court as some political clans are out to derail
its implementation, Senate Majority Leader Juan Miguel “Migz” Zubiri added.

Zubiri said some political families have taken his efforts in overseeing the enactment
of the long overdue measure against him.

Dureza said in a speech during the National Conference on the Bangsamoro Basic Law and Federalism, the administration is pushing a single BBL version that conforms to the Constitution.

Dureza said the Bangsamoro Transition Commission (BTC) will work with the bicameral conference in reconciling the BBL versions of the Senate and the House ofRepresentatives.

President Duterte certified both versions of the bill as urgent administration measures. “The work towards an acceptable BBL version is still continuing,” he said.

Members of the Senate and the House will convene in a bicameral conference to come up with a version that Mr. Duterte will sign into a law in July.

“There is still a lot to be done. We hope that our partners will continue to work for advocacy in the communities because we cannot leave this totally to the sound judgment
of Congress,” Dureza said.

“We must make people feel that there are dividends of peace coming out of this effort,”
he added.

SC challenge certain

“I tell you, I am sure that the BBL will be challenged before the Supreme Court before it is
signed by the President. I’m sure about it because there are political clans who want to see this derailed. There are certain groups that don’t want to see this approved because this will change the landscape in the autonomous region,” Zubiri said.

“I don’t want anymore of our men and women in the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP)
or the PNP [Philippine National Police] to lose their lives or houses burned or areas blown
up. Enough is enough. We have to look at long-term solutions for peace. I believe the Senate has the version that will be able to carry these forward,” Zubiri said.

Zubiri, sponsor of the BBL bill in the Senate, said the challenge now that both Houses
of Congress will have to hurdle is to ensure that the final outcome will be constitutionally-compliant.

“If the measure does not comply and the version that comes out will be stricken down by the SC, definitely we will have a problem on peace,” Zubiri added.

The majority leader vowed to engage his colleagues sitting in the bicameral conference committee, in deliberating on and in reconciling the two versions of the BBL.

“This will empower, under the parliamentary system, more party list advocates who believe in women’s rights on good governance to be able to take leadership roles in the Bangsamoro region,” he said.

Zubiri said they are committed to finish deliberations on the measure next month and have it ready for ratification when Congress opens its third regular session on
July 23.

“We are committed to finish it. Usually the bicam does not take two days but we were given five days (to work on it). There will be some heated discussions but I am sure we will pass the BBL,” he added.

“We are committed to finally sit down with this group and sign the final peace agreement.
When the President signs it into law on July 23, this is historic. If we achieve peace in Mindanao, the president now can concentrate with peace process with NPA (New People’s
Army), and lawlessness,” the senator said.

Zubiri further admitted that the Bangsamoro Transition Commission (BTC) is not happy
with the approved versions of the Senate and the House of Representatives.

“We can’t approve their version en toto. They are not lawmakers. Many of them are advocates for different advocacies In lawmaking whatever you file is not the exact measure
that will come out in third and final reading, especially in the bicam (level),” he said.

‘Radical changes’ backed

Zubiri added Mr. Duterte appears to have the support of some senators on the radical
changes to address the issue on criminality in the country even as the warning came with
a reference to martial law. Senators Gregorio Honasan and Juan Miguel “Migz” Zubiri
allayed fears on the any possible declaration of national emergency to address the
rising criminality.

“Extra ordinary means, I’m not much in favor of. But I can see where the President
is coming from. These extra security measures in Mindanao I feel are welcome. We welcome them . Now if he plans to do this in Metro Manila, we should welcome more police presence.

I think that’s great. People can jog in the Baywalk. I welcome them but so as long as we do
not trample on the rights of the Filipinos,” Zubiri told reporters at a press conference in Pasay City.

Honasan, chairman of the Senate committee on national defense and security, said that
such kind of pronouncements coming from the Duterte, it should always be assumed that
the he will always be bound by the Constitution in the exercise of his powers and prerogatives as President.

Besides, Honasan pointed out, the President is an experienced lawyer and prosecutor.

“This will also guide him in his statements, vocabulary and terminology, whether its emergency powers partial law or national emergency,” he said.

“We must always assume that he is ultimately responsible for promoting peace, law
and order and upholding the rights of all Filipinos to life liberty and property, if they
enjoy these rights with the corresponding responsibility and duty to the rest of society,”
Honasan added.

Sen. Panfilo Lacson said he still has to decipher what the President meant by his pronouncements made following his arrival from South Korea where he broached the possibility of using his emergency powers saying that there were simply to many crimes happening in the country now.

“We can only hope that the ‘radical action’ against crime and corruption he’s planning
to take refers only to a more aggressive action by our law enforcement agencies in crime
prevention and suppression based on duly established procedures and anchored on good
intelligence-gathering methods rather than an indiscriminate or shotgun-like approach that
could affect the civil rights of our population at large,” he said.