Palace asks Congress to pass acceptable, constitutional BBL
Malacanang urged on Thursday Congress to pass Bangsamoro Basic Law that is acceptable to all and could pass judicial scrutiny.
Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque made the statement as the Senate and the House of Representatives are set to reconcile their versions of the bill in time for President Rodrigo Duterte's State of the Nation Address on July 23.
"I know that they have respective versions that each sector is pushing, but we need a version that is acceptable to all and that will withstand the test of judicial scrutiny otherwise we might not have a BBL," he said in a press briefing.
"So it's really a process of give and take," Roque stressed.
The House and the Senate have rushed to pass their respective versions of the bill before sessions adjourned early Thursday.
Roque said there is no need for President Rodrigo Duterte to call for a special session in order for both Houses to reconcile their respective versions of the bill.
"They will just be working in the bicameral committee itself which does not require a special session," he said.
Roque recalled that when Duterte separately met with the lawmakers and the Moro Islamic Liberation Front before he certified as urgent the bill early this week, he reiterated the "minimum" requirement for the BBL.
This was the non-establishment of the Bangsamoro police and armed forces separate from the Philippine National Police and the Armed Forces of the Philippines, he said.
Mohagher Iqbal, chairman of the MILF peace implementing panel, indicated that there was no problem with such arrangement.
Asked what the MILF would do with the Bangsamoro Islamic Armed Forces, the group's combatants, Iqbal said the MILF members have not discussed it.
They would just wait for the BBL to be passed, he added.
Roque said the MILF fighters, if they would qualify, could apply to be soldiers or policemen. Celerina Monte/DMS