The certification allows the legislature to disregard the three-day rule and pass the measure on second and third reading on the same day.
KJ Rosales
Duterte certifies proposed BBL as urgent
Alexis Romero (The Philippine Star) - May 30, 2018 - 12:00am

MANILA, Philippines — President Duterte yesterday certified as urgent the proposed Bangsamoro Basic Law (BBL) to enable Congress to pass it before session adjourns today.

The certification allows the legislature to disregard the three-day rule and pass the measure on second and third reading on the same day.

“The Office of the Executive Secretary (certified) as urgent both versions of... the BBL pending in both the House of Representatives and Senate,” presidential spokesman Harry Roque announced during an event at the Philippine National Police headquarters in Camp Crame.

Roque said the differences between the two versions of the BBL would be later threshed out by lawmakers in the House and Senate. 

“Once both chambers have reconciled and finalized the version, the President will sign the Bangsamoro Basic Law,” he added. 

During the event, Roque caused confusion when he said there is no need for the President to certify BBL as urgent.  

“Maybe there will no longer be a certification of urgency because the House and Senate versions are different but what is important is the two chambers have agreed to communicate and to do everything to reconcile their versions,” Roque had said in a press briefing in Mountain Province. 

“Now of course we would like to have BBL enacted before Congress goes into recess on June 2, but their promise really is they will do everything possible to pass BBL,” he said.

Roque said Duterte met with lawmakers and members of the Bangsamoro Transition Council Monday night to discuss ways to harmonize the BBL drafts.

Senate President Vicente Sotto III and Sen. Juan Miguel Zubiri said the President personally told them during the meeting that he will issue the needed certification.

As of yesterday, the senators, particularly Sotto, Senate President Pro Tempore Ralph Recto and Minority Leader Franklin Drilon, were still writing amendments to the BBL.

Sotto said after its approval, both chambers will immediately form the bicameral conference committee on the BBL to reconcile the conflicting provisions of their respective versions of the measures.

Sotto said it was possible that Duterte will sign it immediately to report the same in his State of the Nation Address on July 23.

An urgent request

House Majority Leader Rodolfo Fariñas said it was agreed during that meeting in Malacañang that the President will sign the BBL into law when he delivers his third SONA.

He said the meeting had discussed how to go about the piece of legislation.

Fariñas told reporters that the bicameral conference committee (bicam) will be convened during the nearly two-month recess, to pave the way for the ironing out of the “conflicting provisions” in the BBL. 

“The bicam report shall be submitted for ratification by the House and the Senate in their plenary sessions in the morning of July 23, with the President signing it into law in time for his State of the Nation Address at 4 p.m. of that same day,” he said.

While Speaker Pantaleon Alvarez, Fariñas and their Senate counterparts gave Duterte the final say on what provisions should remain and be removed, the President nonetheless “did not impose anything on Congress, but granted our request to certify the BBL bill as urgent.”

Presidential Adviser on the Peace Process Jesus Dureza also confirmed the President would sign the BBL into law in time for his third SONA on July 23.

Dureza said the President had a meeting with leaders of the House and Senate last Monday along with a Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) delegation headed by Kagi Murad Ibrahim.

“It was a good meeting with all leaders of the House and the Senate, including their members who expressed strongly their views on the bill,” Dureza said.

“The President met separately with the leaders of the Moro Islamic Liberation Front headed by Kagi Murad Ibrahim. Then he convened separately the government sector,” he added.

Dureza said the President initially expressed his own views and initial assessment on the BBL.

“The meeting adjourned with a general consensus that the two chambers conclude their work at the earliest possible time and if there are varying versions, that the mandated bicameral committees of both chambers meet to come up with a joint reconciled and accepted version,” Dureza said.

He said Duterte stated that he would certify the bill as urgent.

The House and the Senate are expected to pass BBL on third and final reading this week. 

“We will then have a bicameral conference committee during the break, that will resolve conflicting provisions of our bills in collaboration with the executive department and the Bangsamoro Transition Commission,” Fariñas said. 

Deputy Speaker Rolando Andaya Jr. earlier asked the three committees of the House that consolidated and approved the BBL bill to seriously look into constitutional issues on some provisions of the measure.?“We should work together to make sure this bill is as airtight as possible, as President Duterte’s administration has put much work and effort into this measure. We all do not want to see it wasted just because of a fatal oversight,” he said.?The Camarines Sur lawmaker in particular expressed concern that Article 12 Section 1 of House Bill 6475, which discussed Fiscal Autonomy of the Bangsamoro, is unconstitutional according to existing jurisprudence.?Andaya explained fiscal autonomy is granted by the Constitution and cannot be superseded by a law passed even by Congress.

“It is a constitutional grant and cannot be attained by membership. This is the ruling of the Supreme Court on the power of fiscal autonomy,” he said.

For her part, Rep. Amihilda Sangcopan of party-list Anak Mindanao clarified they are not saying the BBL is the solution to the peace situation in war-ravaged Mindanao.

“What we’re trying to say is, do we have an alternative to the peace situation in Mindanao?   – With  Paolo Romero, Delon Porcalla, Jose Rodel Clapano, Cecille Suerte Felipe

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