QUEZON CITY (MindaNews/19 May) — The House ad hoc committee on the Bangsamoro Basic Law on Tuesday struck down the provision creating the office of a titular head of government of the proposed autonomous region.
The new version of the so-called “Chairman and Vice Chairman‘s Working Draft on the BBL” did not retain Article VIII creating the “Wali” or the ceremonial head of the proposed Bangsamoro.
The committee voted 15-22.
Members of the progressive Makabayan bloc argued for the retention of Article VIII to no avail.
Bayan Muna Rep. Carlos Zarate said the proposed BBL has become “a diluted version” of the agreement signed by the MILF and the government.
“Its essence of freedom is gone because of Malacanang intervention,” Zarate said.
Article VIII of the BBL version drafted by the Bangsamoro Transition Commission (BTC) provides for the creation of the “Wali”
Under the BTC draft the “Wali” would have been appointed by the Bangsamoro Transition Authority to a term of three years and his or her successors to a term of six years each.
The committee meanwhile approved that a Chief Minister shall head the new government.
Zarate said the “Chairman and Vice Chairman‘s Working Draft on the BBL” was the result of Malacanang’s intervention and has resulted to the “dilution” of many provisions.
But committee chair Cagayan de Oro Rep. Rufus Rodriguez denied this saying those that were taken out were articles that could not pass scrutiny before the Supreme Court.
“The idea of Wali is not constitutional because it came from a parliamentary system of government but we practice a presidential system,” Rodriguez said.
He said the committee members took care to remove provisions that would raise constitutionality issues in the future.
The provision of “Wali” was retained in the working draft proposed by Rodriguez but was absent in the version presented by committee vice chair and Davao del Norte Rep. Anthony del Rosario.
A MindaNews source said President Aquino had favored retaining the provision on “Wali” during his meeting with committee members in Malacanang last Sunday.
He said Aquino was even thinking of Lanao del Sur Rep. Pagalian Balindong to be the first “Wali”.
Lawmakers who opposed the BBL have roundly criticized Aquino’s meeting with committee members, which started at 11 a.m. and ended in the wee hours of Monday morning.
Resolutions filed by Zamboanga Rep. Celso Lobregat, a vocal opponent of the BBL, were all quashed by Aquino’s allies since the start of the deliberations and voting on Monday.
Even Sarangani Rep. Manny Pacquiao was seen voting for the provisions in the new BBL working draft.
On Monday, committee members adopted the “Chairman and Vice Chairman’s Working Draft on the BBL” and agreed to vote on “per provision basis”. (Froilan Gallardo/MindaNews)