MANILA - Senator Ferdinand Marcos Jr.'s eldest son spoke against the proposed Bangsamoro Basic Law (BBL) at a student forum on Monday, echoing his father's stance on the measure that remains pending in the lawmaker's Senate committee.
Senator Marcos was supposed to keynote the BBL forum at the Polytechnic University of the Philippines (PUP), but sent his son Ferdinand Alexander at the last minute to cover for him. The 21-year-old Marcos, also known as Sandro, said his father suffered from food poisoning after their Father's Day dinner.
Marcos read his father's speech before thousands of PUP students and teachers, stopping at some parts to apologize for his difficulty in speaking Tagalog.
"Marami sa mga probisyon ng BBL ang labag sa ating Saligang Batas (Many provisions of the BBL violate our Constitution)," he said.
"OK ba (Is it OK)?" he added, laughing at himself for his Tagalog and causing the audience to chuckle as well.
Reading from his father's speech, the younger Marcos said the January 25 incident in Mamasapano, Maguindanao where 44 elite cops died in an encounter with rebels put into question the bill creating the Bangsamoro autonomous region.
During the open forum, an audience member asked Marcos what his own stand on the measure was.
"It's hard for a law such as the BBL to be passed and create a sovereign territory within the Philippines," said Marcos, who is currently studying political science in England.
"From an international standpoint, creating a sovereign territory within the Philippines is firstly unconstitutional and creates too many impracticalities and insufficiencies for it to be a functional and sustainable law in the future."
Critics of the BBL argue that the bill grants too many powers to the Bangsamoro government that it effectively establishes a sub-state, and is therefore unconstitutional.
Senator Marcos had said stakeholders other than the rebel group Moro Islamic Liberation Front, with which government struck a peace deal, were excluded from negotiations that led to the crafting of the BBL.
Marcos, who chairs the local government committee, had declared he could not support the BBL draft that the Aquino administration submitted to Congress and vowed to present a substitute measure.
Among the options Senator Marcos said he was considering was to amend the organic law of the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao, which the proposed Bangsamoro seeks to replace.