By Ellson Quismorio
The failed ratification of the proposed Bangsamoro Organic Law (BOL) Monday gave the House of Representatives a bad look, Akbayan Party-List Rep. Tom Villarin admitted as much.
“[House Speaker Pantaleon] Alvarez won’t budge, ang nangyari ngayon walang botohan sa BBL [for ratification] (as a result there was no voting for the ratification of BBL),” Villarin told reporters in a chance interview after Monday’s morning session was abrupt ended.
By “not budging,” the opposition solon meant that Alvarez chose to remain in his seat despite very imminent moves from his colleagues to declare his position vacant and install a new Speaker.
While Alvarez’s backside was saved for the day, the BOL–which has been described as an instrument of peace in conflict-ridden Mindanao–did not undergo ratification vote. This snuffed out any chance of it being signed into law in time for President Rodrigo Duterte’s State of the Nation Address (SONA) that same afternoon.
“The problem is with the administration. The supermajority is split, they don’t know what to do. The BBL (Bangsamoro Basic Law, precursor of the BOL) has been the casualty of the intramurals within the Duterte administration,” Villarin said.
Asked if the non-ratification of the BOL gave the House a bad look, Villarin replied, “Practically.”
“It’s only the first time that an incumbent administration going to a midterm election ay biglang nahati (suddenly split in two). Usually a challenge sa (on the) Speakership happens toward the end of a term.”
The BOL could still be ratified and subsequently readied for Duterte’s signature Tuesday, but the dysfunctional proceedings Monday was still a setback for the law.
“Tingin ko hindi naman siya sinet-aside (I don’t think it was set aside), it was just overtaken by intramurals within the administration coalition,” Villarin said of the BOL.
“And it’s very clear that the intramurals is between the President’s daughter (Davao City Mayor Sara Duterte-Carpio) and Speaker Alvarez. The longer than these intramurals will not be resolved, eh andaming masa-sacrifice na mga priority na legislative measures (a lot of priority measures will be sacrificed),” he pointed out.
The BOL is the enabling law of the 2014 peace deal between the Philippine government and secessionist group Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF).
It seeks to establish the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao or BARMM.