Lawmaker appeals for understanding on BBL deliberations
Roel Pareño (Philstar.com) - September 18, 2015 - 12:46am

ZAMBOANGA CITY, Philippines - Zamboanga first district Rep. Celso Lobrega  appealed for understanding  from staunch supporters of the controversial Bangsamoro Basic Law (BBL) who demonized his image and labeled him as “peace spoiler” while trying to uphold the constitution.

Lobregat said he saw the article Tuesday when supporters of the BBL marched in Marawi and demonized a tarpaulin with his picture, together with Sen. Ferdinand Marcos Jr. and his father, the late strongman Ferdinand Marcos.

Lobregat said supporters have to understand that legislators like him only attend to issues, emphasizing that “nothing is personal.”

“Actually, I am for peace, I’m not anti-peace but we need a BBL that is just, that is fair, feasible, acceptable and more importantly consistent with the constitution and existing laws,” Lobregat said in reaction to the tirade received from staunch supporters of the MILF and the BBL.

Lobregat said if they were doing their job by questioning several provisions which were described to be unconstitutional, contrary to the existing laws. It is their duty to uphold and defend the constitution as they have sworn allegiance to the Philippine laws.

He said the House version of BBL went through several amendments though still lacking. The Bangsamoro Transition Commission (BTC) had asked the Congress to restore the original measure.

The BBL measure has remained in the interpolation period and debate in Congress, continuously being delayed due to lack of quorum.

Lobregat said they only have three days next week to deliberate on the national budget worth P3.01 trillion.

There are still more than ten lawmakers, including him, who still have to interpolate and deliver speeches on the measure before the period of amendments.

Lobregat said the amendments will take another long period before going through second and final reading in Congress.

The lawmaker said the BBL cannot be passed unilaterally by the House of Representatives since the Senate also has to pass its own version.

According to Lobregat, a bicameral meeting is needed since the versions of the House and the Senate are very different.

“How that can be done in three days?” Lobregat asked. “It will take a miracle.”

He said the budget hearing will be held until next month before the break for filing of certificates of candidacy (COC) from October to November.

Congress will resume but only with few sessions before it goes on another break in December.

Lobregat said the 2016 polls will also affect the schedule and deliberations on the BBL, starting February next year.   

ACIRC BANGSAMORO BASIC LAW BANGSAMORO TRANSITION COMMISSION BBL CELSO LOBREGA FERDINAND MARCOS FERDINAND MARCOS JR. HOUSE AND THE SENATE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES LOBREGAT NBSP
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