House failure to pass BBL

SEARCH FOR TRUTH - Ernesto M. Maceda - The Philippine Star

Despite President Benigno Aquino’s challenge for them to pass the measure before the holidays, the House of Representatives adjourned for its Christmas break without passing the Basic Bangsamoro Law (BBL), now called the proposed Basic Law for the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region (BLBAR). The House will reconvene on Jan. 18, 2016, with a three week final session to Feb.5.

The blame falls on the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF), not the government. The MILF was responsible for the Mamasapano massacre of 44 Philippine National Police-Special Agent Force (PNP-SAF) commanders. That incident was the turning point in the change of mind of majority of the lawmakers.

Senator Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr. said the BBL is dead. He blamed the Aquino administration for the delay in the submission of the draft bill which forwarded it to Congress in September 2014, instead of April that year.

Senate President Franklin Drilon has countered Marcos’s statement by expressing confidence the Senate will still pass the stalled BBL by January.

MILF wants the Bangsamoro measure passed under the current administration because the Comprehensive Agreement on Bangsamoro was forged under President Aquino’s watch.

The MILF warned that it will not lay down more arms if the BBL is not passed. Failure of the Congress to pass the BBL would freeze the agreement to decommission firearms of the MILF, MILF chief negotiator Mohagner Igbal said. However, Igbal remains hopeful that the House of Representatives will be able to pass the bill next year. Moreover, the MILF leader warned that the non-passage of the controversial measure may also prompt extremists to mount attacks.

One thing is clear, President Benigno “Noynoy” Aquino Jr., who has repeatedly been calling on Congress to pass the controversial measure, did not push hard enough for the approval of the BBL.

Pulse Asia senatorial survey

Pulse Asia survey released its latest presidential survey as commissioned by ABS-CBN.

Topping the list of winners is Senator Tito Sotto with 72.6 percent, followed by Sen. Panfilo Lacson with 65.3 percent.

Third place was Sen. Ralph Recto with 62.9 percent, followed by Sen. Francis Pangilinan with 58 percent. In fifth place were Senators Frank Drilon and Miguel Zubiri with 57.5 percent.

Next came Senator Sergio Osmeña, 52.17 percent; Sarangani Rep. Manny Pacquiao, 50.2 percent; Sen. Richard Gordon, 49.7 percent; Sen. T.G. Guingona, 44.8 percent; Secretary Leila De Lima, 37.9 percent; Rep. Rizza Hontiveros, 36.5 percent; Vice Mayor Isko Moreno was on 13th place with 30.4 percent. Former Metro Manila Development Authority (MMDA) chairman Francis Tolentino was 14th with 23.4 percent. Actor Edu Manzano and Valenzuela Rep. Sherwin Gatchalian tied for 15th place with 22 percent.

The survey was taken from Nov. 8-15 with 1,200 respondents nationwide.

Comelec accepts Duterte’s COC

Voting 6-1, the Commission on Elections (Comelec) en banc voted to accept Davao City Mayor Rodrigo Duterte’s certificate of candidacy (COC) for president as a ministerial duty of the commission. According to the Comelec, Duterte was able to comply with all the requirements stipulated in the Omnibus Election Code. Despite the ruling, Chairman Andres Bautista said the Comelec 1st Division will still hold a hearing on the disqualification case filed by broadcaster Ruben Castor. Duterte is still at risk of being removed from the 2016 presidential race.

Bautista said this acceptance of the COC is ministerial and without prejudice to the disqualification charges filed against Martin Diño – the candidate Duterte is replacing.

With this positive decision, Sen. Grace Poe remains hopeful that the Comelec en banc applies consistency in rendering decision on the motion of reconsideration for her “honest mistake” in her 2013 COC.

Commissioner Rowena Guanzon dissented saying it would have been procedurally preferred to first review the veracity of Duterte document before acceptance. She also noted the fact that there is still a pending case alleging Duterte’s COC being “void” because it contains untruthful acts or misrepresentations.

Senate President Franklin Drilon urged the Comelec to postpone the printing of the ballots until after the Supreme Court (SC) has decided on the disqualification case of Sen. Grace Poe.

Duterte said, should he and Poe get disqualified, he will support the candidacy of Vice President Jejomar Binay.

Binay’s energy platform

Vice President Jejomar “Jojo” Binay speaking in Tupi, South Cotabato unveiled his complete energy platform to solve the power crisis in Mindanao.

Binay said his administration will move toward ensuring that all Filipinos, particularly in Mindanao, will have access to cheap electricity and long-term energy supply and security.

Binay stressed the need for getting more investors in the power sector; and vowed to streamline the application process for the construction of power plants.

Outstanding government officials

Commendations are extended to these government officials for their outstanding work performance.

Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) Sec. Albert del Rosario; Department of Tourism (DOT) Sec. Ramon Jimenez; Department of Education (DepEd) Sec. Armin Luistro; Government Service Insurance Service (GSIS) president Robert Vergara; Public Attorney’s Office (PAO) chief Percida Acosta; Pag-IBIG president Darlene Berberabe; Philippine Economic Zone Authority (PEZA) Director General Lilia de Lima; Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) Sec. Gregory Domingo; Department of Finance (DOF) Sec. Cesar Purisima; Ambassador Marciano Paynor.


Fifteen were killed and 20 were wounded in a clash with the Abu Sayyaf rebels in Al Barka, Basilan.

Only 5,000 of 8,000 Typhoon Sendong victims in Cagayan de Oro have been given homes.

Large container ships are being built in Subic.

Christmas greetings to Foreign Affairs Secretary and Mrs. Albert del Rosario, Sen. Ralph Recto, Sen. Miriam Defensor-Santiago, Pancho Villaraza, Gomer and Lee Amurao, Jaime Dechavez, Dr. Roland dela Cruz and Pio Morabe.













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