By Charissa Luci-Atienza
Lanao Del Norte Rep. Khalid Dimaporo warned Wednesday the members of the bicameral conference committee on Bangsamoro Basic Law (BBL) against including the 39 barangays in North Cotabato and six municipalities in Lanao Del Norte in the Bangsamoro region.
He said the House contingent, led by Majority Leader Rodolfo Fariñas maintained that such provision is illegal and will be questioned before the Supreme Court.
“The House stood their ground and para wala ng dagdag na confrontration, we resolve it in Malacanang. The general stand of the House is to make it constitutional. What is the use of this if it will be declared unconstitutional? We don’t want MOA-AD (Memorandum of Agreement on Ancestral Domain) to be repeated again,” he told reporters before the bicameral discussions on Bangsamoro Basic Law resumed yesterday.
As of this writing, leaders of Congress are set to personally meet with President Duterte to resolve the deadlock on the territory and plebiscite issues.
Dimaporo said even if BBL manages to pass as law, they will question it before the Supreme Court.
“As far as I am concerned, we will accept it, but we challenge it to the SC, ” he said.
He even expressed confidence that Senate Majority Leader Juan Miguel Zubiri, who co-chairs the bicameral panel “will not compromise.”
“Because in the House, we make sure that it is constitutional as possible, ” Dimaporo said.
Senate Minority Leader Franklin Drilon said the issue on the territory is “very sensitive” and needs to be addressed under the guidance of President Duterte being the highest political leader in the land.
Fariñas disclosed that the BBL bicameral meetings, which started on Monday, July 8 may extend until next week.
“We will start winding up our meetings tomorrow, Thursday, from noon onwards, at the House of Representatives, and may extend until Monday, July 16,” he said.
He confirmed that aside from territorial issue, the leaders of Congress “will discuss personally with the President about the security implications of certain matters in the Comprehensive Agreement on the Bangsamoro (CAB) since such was entered into by the Executive Department.”
The first day of conference committee deliberations held on July 9, 2018 already covered 14 of the 18 articles of the BBL.
The bicameral panel aims to come up with a clean bill to be ratified by July 23, 2018 when the third regular session of the 17th Congress convenes.
The passage of the BBL was derailed during the 16th Congress following the bloody massacre of 47 members of Special Action Force (SAF) in Mamasapano, Maguindanao in January 2015.