Romualdez accuses Palace of sabotaging peace talks

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Published : Wednesday, June 04, 2014 00:00

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THE head of the House independent minority bloc yesterday accused Malacañang of sabotaging the peace talks it entered with the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) following the continued delay in the transmittal to Congress of the proposed Bangsamoro Basic Law (BBL) for approval.

In a press conference, Leyte Rep. Ferdinand Martin Romualdez, head of the bloc, said Malacañang should not hostage lawmakers into passing the draft bill without the benefit of strict scrutiny.

“Right now, my colleagues here will join me in saying, if anybody is doing great disservice to the peace process, it’s the Palace because they have promised our Muslim brothers, the Bangsamoro, that we will have this done as soon as possible, yet we are hostage here,” Romualdez told reporters.

“They will give it (draft bill) on a later date and then ipapasa iyan na parang impeachment kasi sasabihin pangalan ng presidente ang nakataya dito kaya kailangang ipasa iyan. Kawawa naman ang leadership, kawawa naman ang congressmen, and then you heap the blame on congressmen for delaying the peace process,” Romualdez explained.

Romualdez said he cannot understand why the BBL is still being evaluated and studied by the Office of the President and the Chief Presidential Legal Counsel when it was already signed last March.

“Bakit pinirmahan pa nila kung kailangang i-review, dapat ipinadaan

muna sa amin. Kalokohan na ang ginagawa ng Executive eh, sila lang ang may alam, parating napapasubo tayo sa alanganin,” Romualdez pointed out.

He lamented that Congress will adjourn sine die next week and will resume on the fourth Monday of July or during the state-of-the-nation address (SoNA) of President Aquino.

“We have to make sure that it is (Bangsamoro bill) consistent with the Constitution and has no legal infirmities. They should not pass a half-baked o hilaw na draft bill. They are the ones delaying the peace process. Ang problema ng Executive laging nagpapa-guwapo at the expense of the House and the Senate. Sobra na iyan, tama na ang sound bite nila, papogi-pogi lang parati, pero iyung mga congressmen bugbog sarado na,” Romualdez stressed.

“Our brothers in the South will become very frustrated with us kasi

deadline na, parang dead on arrival na ang bill, that’s very unfair,” he said.

Earlier, Romualdez asked Malacañang to address the constitutional questions raised by the Philippine Constitution Association (Philconsa) in the proposed draft Bangsamoro bill.

Philconsa chairman Manuel Lazaro said some provisions of the proposed

measure may be unconstitutional.

Lazaro questioned at least six points in the Bangsamoro Basic Law, two of these include the absence of the power of Executive to bind Congress and Judicial departments — unless the Executive believes Congress and Supreme Court (SC) are its lackeys and the proposed wealth sharing as this seems not to be legal and a clear highway robbery.

The Bangsamoro Transition Commission has yet to submit the draft bill to Congress aimed at creating the new Bangsamoro juridical entity replacing the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM).

This was the result of another peace talks being pushed by the government with the MILF, the country’s largest Muslim rebel group.

The Bangsamoro measure was an offshoot of the historic signing of the Comprehensive Agreement on the Bangsamoro (CAB) by the Government Republic of the Philippines (GRP) and the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) last March 27.Ryan Ponce Pacpaco

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