MANILA - Senate Minority Leader Franklin Drilon on Saturday slammed the removal of a provision against political dynasties in the bicameral version of the proposed Bangsamoro Basic Law (BBL) even as he described the draft as "constitutional."
He made the statement several days after Senate and House of Representatives members jointly voted to remove the anti-dynasty provision in the draft measure on Monday, when bicameral deliberations on the proposal began.
Drilon expressed doubts that the BBL, if passed without a bar on political dynasties, could resolve lingering poverty in Mindanao.
“I have my doubts whether poverty can be addressed because we failed to include an anti-dynasty provision. I’m not very optimistic that BBL can effectively address issues of good governance," Drilon said.
“I believe that until we succeed in banning political dynasty, ARMM’s (Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao) economy will not improve."
Still, he is optimistic that the draft could pass judicial scrutiny if questioned before the courts.
“I am confident that the bicam’s version of the BBL, which will finally pave the way for lasting peace in Mindanao, is compliant [with] the Constitution,” Drilon said in a statement.
The BBL, the enabling law of the 2014 peace deal between the government and the Moro Islamic Liberation Front, will install a Bangsamoro political entity in place of the ARMM.
It failed to pass under the previous administration as some provisions faced questions on constitutionality.
DELETED ANTI-DYNASTY PROVISION
The Senate's version of the BBL contained a section stating that: "No Party Representative should be related within the second (2nd) civil degree of consanguinity or affinity to a District Representative or another Party Representative in the same Parliament."
But the bicameral conference committee junked the provision on Monday, said House Majority Leader Rodolfo Fariñas, as the provision would impose a dynasty prohibition only within a certain province while the rest of the country still does not have that limitation.
"It was dropped by the Senate after we cited the flaws of the provision that violates the equal protection clause of the Constitution," he told reporters earlier this week.
Drilon, meanwhile, said that under the draft BBL, the Bangsamoro will have 60 powers which the ARMM does not have, but he did not elaborate.
“I was the one who proposed that we devolve around 60 specific powers to the Bangsamoro region. That is why in terms of government power, I can guarantee that the Bangsamoro is stronger than the current ARMM,” Drilon said.