Palace eyes talks with Miriam over Bangsamoro

By RG Cruz, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Apr 04 2014 05:12 PM | Updated as of Apr 05 2014 01:12 AM

MANILA – The Palace will work with legislators to ensure the passage of the proposed Bangsamoro Basic Law that will operationalize the recently-signed Comprehensive Agreement on the Bangsamoro with the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF).

Presidential spokesperson Edwin Lacierda made this assurance following Senator Miriam Defensor Santiago's criticism of the CAB as unconstitutional.

"Be that as it may, [government peace panel] chair [Miriam Coronel] Ferrer already mentioned that she would like to sit down with Senator Miriam Defensor Santiago. And as we will do with all the legislators because this bill, which is now in the process of being finalized will be submitted to Congress for their legislation enactment," Lacierda said.

Lacierda pointed out that the legislative mill is the venue to thresh out questions on the constitutionality of any proposed law.

"The legislative discussion will be the ground for discussing all these issues. And we have said, time and again, that the panel as well as the legislators who are in support, will discuss these issues at hand," he said.

Lacierda reiterated that the CAB is constitutional, saying that Santiago's take on the CAB is merely an opinion.

"Obviously Senator Miriam Defensor Santiago's opinion is different from other constitutional lawyers as well. There are other constitutionalists, which found the CAB as constitutional.The instruction of the President in negotiating for the Comprehensive Agreement on the Bangsamoro was to make sure that it will be within the parameters of the Constitution; and we believe, certainly, that the CAB can withstand constitutional, judicial scrutiny," he said.

Malacañang is now waiting for the bill that is being drafted by the Bangsamoro Transition Commission.

"I can only echo the statement of Chair Iqbal where they are in the process already of just finalizing things. It will, hopefully, be submitted soon. It is a self-imposed deadline, by the way. But, hopefully, they will be able to finalize and submit it on time in time for the Office of the President to go through it and before we submit it to the legislature," Lacierda said.

The Aquino administration hopes to enact the bill by end of 2014, paving the way for its ratification in a plebiscite in early 2015 and the regular election of its new officers in 2016.